Biochemical, Bioinformatic, and Microbiological Characterization of Cellulolytic Bacteria for Biofuels


Author/Creator ORCID



Type of Work


Hood College Department of Biology


Hood College Departmental Honors

Citation of Original Publication


CC0 1.0 Universal


Interest in biofuels as a renewable energy source has increased over the years to combat the effects of burning fossil fuels on the climate. Biofuels are categorized as first, second, and third-generation, each having a defined feedstock. All three have advantages and disadvantages, but second-generation is the most promising biofuel production method, utilizing non-food wastes as its feedstock. The wastes, such as corn husks, are made of lignocellulosic biomass. To produce biofuels, the biomass must be degraded by enzymes into sugars. The sugars then undergo fermentation, producing ethanol that is distilled into fuel. An issue is finding microorganisms capable of producing enzymes for biomass breakdown. The current research focuses on finding cellulases, enzymes that break down cellulose, the most abundant biomass found in plants. The bacteria collected were characterized and assayed for cellulase activity, with various genera exhibiting activity. The most prominent was Bacillus, which showed, on average, strong cellulase activity. The assays' results allow for future experiments to reassess suitable ways to quantify cellulase activity and find an efficient cellulase to aid in the production of second-generation biofuels.