Fungi decompose lignin. Everyone knows that—from introductory biology textbooks to The Magic School Bus cartoon that my kids watch after school. But have we overlooked the small but unique role of bacteria in lignin degradation?
Bioinformatician David Levy-Booth, a former fellow in microbiologist Bill Mohn’s LSI lab, was in the thick of a multi-year effort to uncover the role of bacteria in enzymatic deconstruction of lignin in thermal environments. Using a combined approach integrating advanced multi-omics, microbiology, and biochemistry to reveal potential thermostable bacterial biocatalysts, Mohn, Levy-Booth, and colleagues including the LSI’s Dr. Lindsay Eltis aim to create the next generation of sustainable bio-products.
The group has collected a growing body of evidence that bacteria contribute to lignin degradation. In a “Behind the Paper” for Nature Microbiology, Levy-Booth details a genome-resolved investigation into thermostable ligninases in bacteria found in BC’s remote thermal environments.
Read a new paper emerging from this research, published May 2 in the ISME Journal
A recent LSI story profiling this research program celebrated Earth Day.