Yannick J. Bomble is a senior research scientist and project lead at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. His team is multidisciplinary and focuses on the characterization/engineering of biomass degrading and metabolic enzymes as well as metabolic engineering/modeling of microorganisms to improve the production of biofuels and bioproducts. He received his Ph.D in Chemical Physics from the University of Texas at Austin (2006) and conducted his postdoctoral work in Computational Biology at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California (2007). Prior to this he obtained a B.S in Physics and Chemistry from the Universite de Lille (France) (2001) after two years of Mathématiques Superieures and Mathématiques Speciales at the Lycée Faidherbe in Lille (France).
Biomass Deconstruction by Thermophiles: What Have We Learned and Can We Improve Their Cellulolytic Activity?
Microorganisms have evolved different and yet complementary mechanisms to deconstruct biomass in the biosphere. The chemical biology of lignocellulose deconstruction is a complex and intricate process that appears to vary in response to specific ecosystems. These microorganisms rely on simple to complex arrangements of glycoside hydrolases to conduct most of these polysaccharide depolymerization reactions. It is now clear that these deconstruction mechanisms are often more efficient in the presence of the microorganisms. In general, a major fraction of the total plant biomass deconstruction in the biosphere results from the action of various microorganisms, primarily aerobic bacteria and fungi, but also, a variety of anaerobic bacteria. Understanding the interplay between these organisms (and their biomass degrading enzymes) within or across ecosystems is crucial to further our grasp of chemical recycling in the biosphere, which we believe will further enable optimization of enzymes and microorganisms used in the burgeoning plant-based bioeconomy. Here we focus on biomass deconstruction by promising thermophilic cellulolytic anaerobes being considered for consolidated bioprocessing. We describe in details their deconstruction mechanisms and show how these microorganisms can be engineered for increased cellulolytic activity.