Background: Bioethanol production processes involve enzymatic hydrolysis of pretreated lignocellulosic biomass into fermentable sugars. Due to the relatively high cost of enzyme production, the development of potent and cost-effective cellulolytic cocktails is critical for increasing the cost-effectiveness of bioethanol production. In this context, the multi-protein cellulolytic complex of Clostridium (Ruminiclostridium) thermocellum, the cellulosome, was studied here. C. thermocellum is known to assemble cellulosomes of various subunit (enzyme) compositions, in response to the available carbon source. In the current study, different carbon sources were used, and their influence on both cellulosomal composition and the resultant activity was investigated. Results: Glucose, cellobiose, microcrystalline cellulose, alkaline-pretreated switchgrass, alkaline-pretreated corn stover, and dilute acid-pretreated corn stover were used as sole carbon sources in the growth media of C. thermocellum strain DSM 1313. The purified cellulosomes were compared for their activity on selected cellulosic substrates. Interestingly, cellulosomes derived from cells grown on lignocellulosic biomass showed no advantage in hydrolyzing the original carbon source used for their production. Instead, microcrystalline cellulose- and glucose-derived cellulosomes were equal or superior in their capacity to deconstruct lignocellulosic biomass. Mass spectrometry analysis revealed differential composition of catalytic and structural subunits (scaffoldins) in the different cellulosome samples. The most abundant catalytic subunits in all cellulosome types include Cel48S, Cel9K, Cel9Q, Cel9R, and Cel5G. Microcrystalline cellulose- and glucose-derived cellulosome samples showed higher endoglucanase-to-exoglucanase ratios and higher catalytic subunit-per-scaffoldin ratios compared to lignocellulose-derived cellulosome types. Conclusion: The results reported here highlight the finding that cellulosomes derived from cells grown on glucose and microcrystalline cellulose are more efficient in their action on cellulosic substrates than other cellulosome preparations. These results should be considered in the future development of C. thermocellum-based cellulolytic cocktails, designer cellulosomes, or engineering of improved strains for deconstruction of lignocellulosic biomass.
- Enzymatic hydrolysis
- Lignocellulosic biomass