Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 99, Issue 21, pp 9049–9060 | Cite as

Improved ethanol production from biomass by a rumen metagenomic DNA fragment expressed in Escherichia coli MS04 during fermentation

  • Inés Loaces
  • Vanesa Amarelle
  • Iván Muñoz-Gutierrez
  • Elena Fabiano
  • Alfredo Martinez
  • Francisco Noya
Applied genetics and molecular biotechnology


With the aim of improving current ethanologenic Escherichia coli strains, we screened a metagenomic library from bovine ruminal fluid for cellulolytic enzymes. We isolated one fosmid, termed Csd4, which was able to confer to E. coli the ability to grow on complex cellulosic material as the sole carbon source such as avicel, carboxymethyl cellulose, filter paper, pretreated sugarcane bagasse, and xylan. Glucanolytic activity obtained from E. coli transformed with Csd4 was maximal at 24 h of incubation and was inhibited when glucose or xylose were present in the media. The 34,406-bp DNA fragment of Csd4 was completely sequenced, and a putative endoglucanase, a xylosidase/arabinosidase, and a laccase gene were identified. Comparison analysis revealed that Csd4 derived from an organism closely related to Prevotella ruminicola, but no homologies were found with any of the genomes already sequenced. Csd4 was introduced into the ethanologenic E. coli MS04 strain and ethanol production from CMC, avicel, sugarcane bagasse, or filter paper was observed. Exogenously expressed β-glucosidase had a positie effect on cell growth in agreement with the fact that no putative β-glucosidase was found in Csd4. Ethanol production from sugarcane bagasse was improved threefold by Csd4 after saccharification by commercial Trichoderma reesei cellulases underlining the ability of Csd4 to act as a saccharification enhancer to reduce the enzymatic load and time required for cellulose deconstruction.


Rumen metagenomics CBP Cellulolytic enzymes Bioethanol Biomass hydrolysis 



We are very grateful to Nikolai Guchin (ANCAP, Uruguay) for providing valuable materials and helpful advice. Special thanks to Betiana Bouzas (Frigorífico Pando, Uruguay) for providing access to bovine rumen samples. This work was supported by grants #FSE_2009_23 and #FSE_2011_6383 from Agencia Nacional de Investigación e Innovación (ANII, Uruguay) and grant #FPTA-256 from Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria (INIA, Uruguay). IL and FN were also supported by the Programa de Desarrollo de las Ciencias Básicas (PEDECIBA, Uruguay), by Sistema Nacional de Investigadores (SNI, Uruguay), and by the bilateral international cooperation (Fondo Conjunto de Cooperación Uruguay-México) of Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores, México, and Agencia Mexicana de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (SRE-AMEXCID, México).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Inés Loaces
    • 1
  • Vanesa Amarelle
    • 1
  • Iván Muñoz-Gutierrez
    • 2
    • 3
  • Elena Fabiano
    • 1
  • Alfredo Martinez
    • 2
  • Francisco Noya
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Bioquímica y Genómica MicrobianasInstituto de Investigaciones Biológicas Clemente EstableMontevideoUruguay
  2. 2.Departamento de Ingeniería Celular y Biocatálisis, Instituto de BiotecnologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoCuernavacaMéxico
  3. 3.Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life SciencesTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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