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      Closing the loop: the power of microbial biotransformations from traditional bioprocesses to biorefineries, and beyond

      , 1

      Microbial Biotechnology

      John Wiley and Sons Inc.

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          Abstract

          The power of microorganisms in manipulating diverse matrices and in favouring the flux of elements and molecules through biogeochemical cycles developed in the natural environment, but they also managed to take advantage of some niches created by humans. Therefore, inspired by learning these lessons from nature, we can implement biobased processes at industrial level, for diminishing our dependency on fossil resources and to return molecules to their turnover in a compatible timeframe and with reduced environmental impact.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Microbe domestication and the identification of the wild genetic stock of lager-brewing yeast.

          Domestication of plants and animals promoted humanity's transition from nomadic to sedentary lifestyles, demographic expansion, and the emergence of civilizations. In contrast to the well-documented successes of crop and livestock breeding, processes of microbe domestication remain obscure, despite the importance of microbes to the production of food, beverages, and biofuels. Lager-beer, first brewed in the 15th century, employs an allotetraploid hybrid yeast, Saccharomyces pastorianus (syn. Saccharomyces carlsbergensis), a domesticated species created by the fusion of a Saccharomyces cerevisiae ale-yeast with an unknown cryotolerant Saccharomyces species. We report the isolation of that species and designate it Saccharomyces eubayanus sp. nov. because of its resemblance to Saccharomyces bayanus (a complex hybrid of S. eubayanus, Saccharomyces uvarum, and S. cerevisiae found only in the brewing environment). Individuals from populations of S. eubayanus and its sister species, S. uvarum, exist in apparent sympatry in Nothofagus (Southern beech) forests in Patagonia, but are isolated genetically through intrinsic postzygotic barriers, and ecologically through host-preference. The draft genome sequence of S. eubayanus is 99.5% identical to the non-S. cerevisiae portion of the S. pastorianus genome sequence and suggests specific changes in sugar and sulfite metabolism that were crucial for domestication in the lager-brewing environment. This study shows that combining microbial ecology with comparative genomics facilitates the discovery and preservation of wild genetic stocks of domesticated microbes to trace their history, identify genetic changes, and suggest paths to further industrial improvement.
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            A bacterium that degrades and assimilates poly(ethylene terephthalate).

            Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) is used extensively worldwide in plastic products, and its accumulation in the environment has become a global concern. Because the ability to enzymatically degrade PET has been thought to be limited to a few fungal species, biodegradation is not yet a viable remediation or recycling strategy. By screening natural microbial communities exposed to PET in the environment, we isolated a novel bacterium, Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6, that is able to use PET as its major energy and carbon source. When grown on PET, this strain produces two enzymes capable of hydrolyzing PET and the reaction intermediate, mono(2-hydroxyethyl) terephthalic acid. Both enzymes are required to enzymatically convert PET efficiently into its two environmentally benign monomers, terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol.
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              Scientists’ warning to humanity: microorganisms and climate change

              In the Anthropocene, in which we now live, climate change is impacting most life on Earth. Microorganisms support the existence of all higher trophic life forms. To understand how humans and other life forms on Earth (including those we are yet to discover) can withstand anthropogenic climate change, it is vital to incorporate knowledge of the microbial ‘unseen majority’. We must learn not just how microorganisms affect climate change (including production and consumption of greenhouse gases) but also how they will be affected by climate change and other human activities. This Consensus Statement documents the central role and global importance of microorganisms in climate change biology. It also puts humanity on notice that the impact of climate change will depend heavily on responses of microorganisms, which are essential for achieving an environmentally sustainable future.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                paola.branduardi@unimib.it
                Journal
                Microb Biotechnol
                Microb Biotechnol
                10.1111/(ISSN)1751-7915
                MBT2
                Microbial Biotechnology
                John Wiley and Sons Inc. (Hoboken )
                1751-7915
                04 December 2020
                January 2021
                : 14
                : 1 , Thematic Issue: Crystal Ball ( doiID: 10.1111/mbt2.v14.1 )
                : 68-73
                Affiliations
                [ 1 ] Department of Biotechnology and Biosciences University of Milano‐Bicocca Piazza della Scienza 2 Milano 20126 Italy
                Author notes
                [* ] For correspondence. E‐mail paola.branduardi@ 123456unimib.it

                Article
                MBT213713
                10.1111/1751-7915.13713
                7888447
                33275324
                © 2020 The Authors. Microbial Biotechnology published by Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

                This is an open access article under the terms of the http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 0, Pages: 6, Words: 9458
                Product
                Categories
                Crystal Ball
                Crystal Ball
                Custom metadata
                2.0
                January 2021
                Converter:WILEY_ML3GV2_TO_JATSPMC version:5.9.7 mode:remove_FC converted:17.02.2021

                Biotechnology

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