Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: Cell and Molecular Biology
Asta Teferra - Virginia State University
Co-Author(s): Katrece Cook, Schmidt Vigne, and Xianfa Xie, Virginia State University, VA
Compared to the traditional bioethanol production based on the carbohydrates from corns or sugar canes, next-generation bioethanol technology relies on cellulose and other plant materials that are much more abundance and cost-effective to acquire. The key for the development of next-generation bioethanol technology is to identify the microbes that can be used to break down cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin into simple sugars. This project focuses on identification of the different bacteria from termite guts and soil that can break down cellulose for bioethanol production. For this study, termite and soil samples were collected in May and June 2015 from different locations in eastern United States. Microbes were extracted from termite guts and soil samples, which were then used to inoculate cellulose culture medium to select microbes that break down cellulose. Genomic DNAs were then extracted from the microbes after the selective cellulose culture. For comparison, genomics DNAs were also extracted from termite and soil microbes without cellulose culturing. Extracted genomic DNAs were then used for PCR to amplify the 16s rRNA gene for bacteria PCR. The successfully amplified and purified PCR products were then sequenced using the next-generation sequencing technology, and the DNA sequence data were analyzed using a set of bioinformatics tools to identify the various cellulose-degrading bacteria in the original samples.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): The authors would like to thank the NSF HBCU-UP grant awarded to Virginia State University.
Faculty Advisor: Xianfa Xie,