Exploring bacterial lignin degradation

Margaret E. Brown, Michelle C.Y. Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

331 Scopus citations

Abstract

Plant biomass represents a renewable carbon feedstock that could potentially be used to replace a significant level of petroleum-derived chemicals. One major challenge in its utilization is that the majority of this carbon is trapped in the recalcitrant structural polymers of the plant cell wall. Deconstruction of lignin is a key step in the processing of biomass to useful monomers but remains challenging. Microbial systems can provide molecular information on lignin depolymerization as they have evolved to break lignin down using metalloenzyme-dependent radical pathways. Both fungi and bacteria have been observed to metabolize lignin; however, their differential reactivity with this substrate indicates that they may utilize different chemical strategies for its breakdown. This review will discuss recent advances in studying bacterial lignin degradation as an approach to exploring greater diversity in the environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Chemical Biology
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry

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