Metabolic engineering of lignin degradation pathways in bacteria

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: School of Life Sciences


Lignin is an aromatic heteropolymer found as 15-30% of plant cell wall lignocellulose, and is the most abundant renewable aromatic raw material on Earth. The aromatic content of lignin represents an untapped resource for conversion to renewable aromatic chemicals needed for plastics, materials and fine chemical production. The aims of the project are to develop new tools for metabolic engineering of bacterial lignin degradation, and to use them to generate novel bioproducts via genetic modification of bacterial lignin degraders.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M01116X/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1643123 Studentship BB/M01116X/1 05/10/2015 30/09/2019 Robert Millar
Description Of our bacterial strains studied (Rhodococcus jostii RHA1, Rhodococcus erythropolis PR4, Rhodococcus erythropolis MM30, Rhodococcus opacus, Microbacterium phyllosphaerae, Psuedomonas putida KT2440, Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf-5, Comamonas testosteroni, Agrobacterium sp., and Ochrobactrum sp.), it has been shown that five are able to accept plasmid DNA and express the proteins encoded therein. These bacteria are R. jostii RHA1, P. putida KT2440, C. testosteroni, Agrobacterium sp. and Ochrobactrum sp. Further, Ochrobactrium sp. was properly speciated as Ochrobactrum pecoris.
Exploitation Route These findings help narrow down the list of potential bacterial hosts for metabolic engineering studies on the degradation of lignin. This will allow other researchers to not waste time attempting to utilise organisms that are not useful or practical for this type of research.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Description Poster presentation at Lignocellulosic Biorefinery Network meeting, 20th-22nd March 2019, Shrigley Hall, Macclesfield 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Poster presentation by Dr James Williamson at Lignocellulosic Biorefinery Network meeting, 20th-22nd March 2019, Shrigley Hall, Macclesfield
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019