Applied Metagenomics for Biofuel Development and Environmental Sustainability
Traditional ethanol from sugarcane, also known as first generation ethanol (1G), is one of the greatest technological achievements in the modern history of Brazil. Second-generation bioethanol (2G) from sugarcane bagasse is considered a rational and sustainable alternative to the expansion of the sugarcane industry. However, 2G technology is not yet as robust as 1G ethanol. In this chapter, metagenomics approaches are contextualized within the bioethanol production chain. A comprehensive description is presented on novel carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes) discovered from uncultivated microorganisms with potential utilization in biomass conversion strategies. In addition, this chapter also focuses on the potential of the development of microbial communities to convert residual streams derived from ethanol into valuable products such as biogas and biofertilizer. Finally, a case study is presented that describes the application of large-scale sequencing to assess microbial communities from anaerobic reactors involved in hydrogen production.