UCLA investigators have engineered a new system to degrade cellulose. In this invention the surface of B. subtilis has been engineered to display cellulase enzymes. Using sortases this system is capable of covalently attaching up to 300000 enzymes to the surface of each microbe. The stability of these proteins is also improved by genetically eliminating a cell wall protease. Finally the use of the B. subtilis microbe is better suited for industrial applications since it has a more robust genetic system is already used in industry and the complexes displayed are stable for several days. Thus this invention allows for biomass degradation that is more efficient than the current methods is more cost efficient than the most commonly used methods and is better for industrial applications. Applications: 1) The system could be used to generate cellulolytic strains of B. subtilis that could be applied to biomass to degrade it into its component sugars. 2) This system could also generate B. subtilis that display endoglucanase allowing for the consolidated conversion of biomass into biofuel.
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