Biotechnology Letters

, Volume 32, Issue 12, pp 1765–1775 | Cite as

Mining metagenomes for novel cellulase genes



Cellulases hydrolyze the β-1,4 linkages of cellulose and are widely used in food, brewing and wine, animal feed, textiles and laundry, and pulp and paper industries, especially for hydrolyzing cellulosic materials into sugars, which can be fermented to produce useful products such as ethanol. Metagenomics has become an alternative approach to conventional culture-dependent methods as it allows exhaustive mining of microbial genomes in their natural environments. This review covers the current state of research and challenges in mining novel cellulase genes from the metagenomes of various environments, and discusses the potential biotechnological applications of metagenome-derived cellulases.


Biotechnological applications Cellulase Function-based approach Metagenomics Sequencing 



The research work carried out in the authors’ laboratory was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (30960094, 30960013), the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2009DFA30700), and a the National Hi-tech Research and Development Program of China (863 Program 2007AA021307).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Guangxi Key Laboratory of Subtropical Bioresource Conservation and Utilization, Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education for Microbial and Plant Genetic Engineering, and College of Life Science and TechnologyGuangxi UniversityNanningPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Cellulose Processing Laboratory, National Engineering Research Center for Non-food BiorefineryGuangxi Academy of SciencesNanningPeople’s Republic of China

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