The ligninolytic armory</h5> The degradation of lignin is fundamental for carbon recycling in the biosphere and, as such, it is being studied intensely to be incorporated into emergent lignocellulose biorefineries (see Glossary ) [1,2] . Among the microbes involved in natural ligninolysis, basidiomycete white-rot fungi have a wide array of high redox-potential oxidoreductases with a broad substrate range and the ability to catalyze the complete mineralization of lignin to CO 2 and H 2 O ( Box 1 )  . Bearing in mind that lignocellulose biomass is the most abundant feedstock on the earth, with an estimated production of ∼200 billion tons/year, it is not surprising that the US Department of Energy has invested funds to sequence over 80 fungal genomes in view of their potential application in lignocellulose biorefineries. In fact, ligninolytic enzymes – also known as ligninases – could offer a broad repertoire of solutions in different industrial settings, such as in the sustainable production of renewable chemicals, materials, and fuels (including second-generation biofuels such as bioethanol and biobutanol), organic synthesis (antibiotics, polymers, building blocks), nanobiotechnology (biofuel cells and biosensors for biomedical applications), bioremediation [removal of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), dioxins, halogenated compounds and many
Trends in Biotechnology – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 2015
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