UND IRES Research Project
Study the Role of Soil Bacteria in the Degradation of Lignin
Gaining deeper insight into lignin degradation, identification of bacteria and their functional genes involved in lignin degradation.
Lignin degradation has been mostly investigated in fungi and research on bacterial degradation of lignin has been limited. Therefore, we propose a thorough investigation of bacterial degradation of lignin, including the identification of taxa involved as well as their functional genes.
Because of its complex structure and recalcitrant nature, lignin degradation is a major challenge. Given the structural similarity of lignin degradation intermediates to known substrates of aromatic ring-hydroxylating dioxygenases, biodegradative taxa can be expected to be involved in lignin degradation. Therefore, gaining deeper insight into the degradation of lignin can contribute to protection of the environment.
Lignin, which is a complex ubiquitous plant biopolymer composed of phenylpropanoid monomers, constitutes a vast source of phenolic compounds in soils. However, information regarding the microbial decomposition of this persistent chemically complex compound is limited. Although wood-rotting fungi are generally considered to be the only group of microorganisms capable of complete lignin mineralization , bacterial degradation of lignin and its constituents has been the subject of much less research [2, 3] than fungal degradation. Given the structural similarity of lignin degradation intermediates to known substrates of aromatic ring-hydroxylating dioxygenases, biodegradative taxa can be expected to be involved in lignin degradation.
The visiting student will use a wide array of microbiological methods, including enrichment cultures, plating and molecular techniques, such as PCR and DNA sequencing. The student will benefit from broad experience of our group in the field of microbiology and molecular biology.
- G. Janusz, A. Pawlik, J. Sulej, U. Świderska-Burek, A. Jarosz-Wilkołazka, A. Paszczyński, Lignin degradation: microorganisms, enzymes involved, genomes analysis and evolution, FEMS Microbiol. Rev., 41 (2017) 941-962.
- E.C. Moraes, T.M. Alvarez, G.F. Persinoti, G. Tomazetto, L.B. Brenelli, D.A.A. Paixão, G.C. Ematsu, J.A. Aricetti, C. Caldana, N. Dixon, T.D.H. Bugg, F.M. Squina, Lignolytic-consortium omics analyses reveal novel genomes and pathways involved in lignin modification and valorization, Biotechnology for Biofuels, 11 (2018) 75.
- M.E. Brown, M.C.Y. Chang, Exploring bacterial lignin degradation, Curr. Opin. Chem. Biol., 19 (2014) 1-7.