Now an international team of researchers led by scientists at the DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI), the French applied research center IFP—particularly concerned with renewable resources and energies—and the Vienna Univ. of Technology (TU Vienna) provides the first genome-wide look at what these mutations are in order to understand just how cellulase production was first improved, and how it can be boosted even further.
“We want to understand the path that we’ve taken to high enzyme production because it isn’t exactly known what was done to these strains,” said Scott Baker, a DOE JGI scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory who, along with Christian Kubicek of TU Vienna and Antoine Margeot of IFP, is a senior author of the paper published online the week of August 31 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Online Early Edition. “There were three mutations characterized previously that gave us some clues, but that just touched the tip of the iceberg. There’s over 200 mutations we found in the T. reesei genome across 60 genes. We now have a blueprint on which we can do future studies to see which genes are related to the enzymes. If you can produce more enzyme more efficiently, that makes your process—in this case the production of biofuel—more economical.”
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