Mining metagenomes for novel cellulase genes
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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.
KeywordsBiotechnological 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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