Methods for the isolation of cellulose-degrading microorganisms

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  • James E McDonald
  • David J. Rooks
    University of Liverpool
  • Alan J. McCarthy
    University of Liverpool

The biodegradation of lignocellulose, the most abundant organic material in the biosphere, is a feature of many aerobic, facultatively anaerobic and obligately anaerobic bacteria and fungi. Despite widely recognized difficulties in the isolation and cultivation of individual microbial species from complex microbial populations and environments, significant progress has been made in recovering cellulolytic taxa from a range of ecological niches including the human, herbivore, and termite gut, and terrestrial, aquatic, and managed environments. Knowledge of cellulose-degrading microbial taxa is of significant importance with respect to nutrition, biodegradation, biotechnology, and the carbon-cycle, providing insights into the metabolism, physiology, and functional enzyme systems of the cellulolytic bacteria and fungi that are responsible for the largest flow of carbon in the biosphere. In this chapter, several strategies employed for the isolation and cultivation of cellulolytic microorganisms from oxic and anoxic environments are described.


  • Animals, Bacteria, Bacteria, Aerobic, Bacteria, Anaerobic, Bioreactors, Cell Culture Techniques, Cellulase, Cellulose, Enzyme Assays, Feces, Fungi, Humans, Isoptera, Microbiological Techniques, Rumen, Sewage, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-74
Number of pages26
JournalMethods in Enzymology
Publication statusPublished - 2012
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