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Issue 12, 2011
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Pathways for degradation of lignin in bacteria and fungi

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Covering: up to 2011

Lignin is a heterogeneous aromatic polymer found as 10–35% of lignocellulose, found in plant cell walls. The bio-conversion of plant lignocellulose to glucose is an important part of second generation biofuel production, but the resistance of lignin to breakdown is a major obstacle in this process, hence there is considerable interest in the microbial breakdown of lignin. White-rot fungi are known to break down lignin with the aid of extracellular peroxidase and laccase enzymes. There are also reports of bacteria that can degrade lignin, and recent work indicates that bacterial lignin breakdown may be more significant than previously thought. The review will discuss the enzymes for lignin breakdown in fungi and bacteria, and the catabolic pathways for breakdown of the β-aryl ether, biphenyl and other components of lignin in bacteria and fungi. The review will also discuss small molecule phenolic breakdown products from lignin that have been identified from lignin-degrading microbes, and includes a bioinformatic analysis of the occurrence of known lignin-degradation pathways in Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.

Graphical abstract: Pathways for degradation of lignin in bacteria and fungi

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Publication details

The article was received on 06 May 2011 and first published on 15 Sep 2011

Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C1NP00042J
Nat. Prod. Rep., 2011,28, 1883-1896

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    Pathways for degradation of lignin in bacteria and fungi

    T. D. H. Bugg, M. Ahmad, E. M. Hardiman and R. Rahmanpour, Nat. Prod. Rep., 2011, 28, 1883
    DOI: 10.1039/C1NP00042J

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