Environmental biotechnology

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Thioglycoligases have proved useful for bonding carbohydrates to non-sugar acceptors, however, the scope of these biocatalysts is usually limited. Here, the authors engineer a xylosidase into a thioglycoligase with the ability to form O-, N-, S- and Se- glycosides together with sugar esters and phosphoesters.

    • Manuel Nieto-Domínguez
    • , Beatriz Fernández de Toro
    •  & María Jesús Martínez
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Interactions between electroactive bacteria and metal oxides are used for bioremediation. Here, the authors report on the application of Fe(III)-containing metal organic frameworks as substrates for bacterial growth which allow for remediation of lethal levels of chromium with high efficacy over several cycles.

    • Sarah K. Springthorpe
    • , Christopher M. Dundas
    •  & Benjamin K. Keitz
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Existing heavy metal bioremediation systems are mainly based on plants, which require long growing time in specific conditions. Here, the authors mimic the characteristics of plant hyperaccumulators to engineer more tractable baker’s yeast and achieve 10–100-fold higher accumulation of chromium, arsenic, or cadmium.

    • George L. Sun
    • , Erin. E. Reynolds
    •  & Angela M. Belcher
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Marine woodborers can digest woody biomass without the help of gut microbiota but the mechanism has remained unclear. Here, the authors provide evidence that the woodborer’s respiratory protein hemocyanin plays a central role in wood digestion and may offer a route toward biorefining of woody plant biomass.

    • Katrin Besser
    • , Graham P. Malyon
    •  & Simon J. McQueen-Mason
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) is a widely used plastic and its accumulation in the environment has become global problem. Here the authors report the crystal structure of a Ideonella sakaiensis PET-degrading enzyme and propose a molecular mechanism for PET degradation.

    • Seongjoon Joo
    • , In Jin Cho
    •  & Kyung-Jin Kim
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Cyanobacteria can be exploited to convert light energy into electrical current, however utilising them efficiently for power generation is a challenge. Here, the authors use a simple commercial inkjet printer to fabricate a thin-film paper-based biophotovoltaic cell capable of driving low-power devices.

    • Marin Sawa
    • , Andrea Fantuzzi
    •  & Peter J. Nixon
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Microbial fuel cells generate electricity from a variety of sources, however from methane only negligible electrical power has been reported so far. Here the authors convert methane into electricity using a synthetic consortium consisting of an engineered archaeal strain, microorganisms from methane-acclimated sludge, andGeobacter sulfurreducens.

    • Michael J. McAnulty
    • , Venkata G. Poosarla
    •  & Thomas K. Wood
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Microbial fermentation yield is limited by CO2 loss in glycolysis. Here, the authors engineered Clostridium ljungdahlii for the anaerobic, non-photosynthetic mixotrophy production of acetone, increasing carbon product yield while reducing CO2emissions from a biogenic feedstock fermentation.

    • Shawn W. Jones
    • , Alan G. Fast
    •  & Bryan P. Tracy