Plant Biomass Decomposition Microbiomes

Microbial communities from natural environments represent an untapped source of enzymes and metabolic pathways for plant biomass conversion to industrial products. In our research we study and manipulate communities from soil and compost for plant biomass decomposition. Current research examines feedstocks relevant to bioenergy production. 

We investigate several systems that involve growth of microorganisms on solids in the absence of free water. These include processes that involve single cultures and mixed cultures of microorganisms. The goal of our research is to better characterize heat and mass transport, microbial growth and product formation kinetics, and lignocellulose deconstruction in these processes. Current research projects are related to deconstruction of plant feedstocks for bioenergy production and seek to discover new enzymes and organisms that are able to efficiently deconstruct plant biomass under industrial conditions.

Recent publications

Ceballos SJ, Wu C, Claypool J, Singer S, Simmons B, Thelen M, Simmons CW, VanderGheynst JS. 2017. Development and characterization of a thermophilic, lignin degrading microbiota. Process Biochemistry 63: 193-203.

Yu C, Harrold DR, Claypool JT, Simmons BA, Singer SW, Simmons CW, VanderGheynst JS. 2017. Nitrogen amendment of green waste impacts microbial community, enzyme secretion and potential for lignocellulose decomposition. Process Biochemistry. 52: 214-222

Rezaei F, Simmons CW, Lee CM, Labavitch J, VanderGheynst JS. 2016. Dynamics in Carbohydrate Active Enzymes and Microbial Communities during Ensilage of Food Processing Residues. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 32(3):439-447.

Wu Y-W, Higgins B, Yu C, Reddy AP, Ceballos S, Joh LD, Simmons BA, Singer SW, VanderGheynst JS. 2016. Ionic Liquids Impact the Bioenergy Feedstock-Degrading Microbiome and Transcription of Enzymes Relevant to Polysaccharide Hydrolysis. mSystems 1(6).

Yu C, Simmons BA, Singer SW, Thelen MP, VanderGheynst JS. 2016. Ionic liquid-tolerant microorganisms and microbial communities for lignocellulose conversion to bioproducts. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 100(24):10237-10249.

Pace S, Ceballos SJ, Harrold D, Stannard W, Simmons BA, Singer SW, Thelen MP, VanderGheynst JS. 2016. Enrichment of microbial communities tolerant to the ionic liquids tetrabutylphosphonium chloride and tributylethylphosphonium diethylphosphate. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology:1-14.

Yu C, Reddy AP, Simmons CW, Simmons BA, Singer SW, VanderGheynst JS. 2015. Preservation of microbial communities enriched on lignocellulose under thermophilic and high-solid conditions. Biotechnology for Biofuels 8(206):1-13.

Simmons C, Reddy A, D’Haeseleer P, Khudyakov J, Billis K, Pati A, Simmons B, Singer S, Thelen M, VanderGheynst J. 2014. Metatranscriptomic analysis of lignocellulolytic microbial communities involved in high-solids decomposition of rice straw. Biotechnology for Biofuels 7(1):495.

Simmons CW, Reddy AP, Simmons BA, Singer SW, VanderGheynst JS. 2014. Effect of inoculum source on the enrichment of microbial communities on lignocellulosic biofuel feedstocks under thermophilic and high-solids conditions. Journal of Applied Microbiology 117(4):1025-1034.

Simmons CW, Reddy AP, Simmons BA, Singer SW, VanderGheynst JS. 2014. Bacillus coagulans tolerance to 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium-based ionic liquids in aqueous and solid-state thermophilic culture. Biotechnology Progress 30(2):311-316.


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