Impacts of biofilms on the conversion of cellulose

Brethauer Studer, Simone; Shahab, Robert L.; Studer, Michael Hans-Peter (2020). Impacts of biofilms on the conversion of cellulose Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 104(12), pp. 5201-5212. Springer 10.1007/s00253-020-10595-y

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Lignocellulose is a widely available renewable carbon source and a promising feedstock for the production of various chemicals in biorefineries. However, its recalcitrant nature is a major hurdle that must be overcome to enable economic conversion processes. Deconstruction of lignocellulose is part of the global carbon cycle, and efficient microbial degradation systems have evolved that might serve as models to improve commercial conversion processes. Biofilms—matrix encased, spatially organized clusters of microbial cells and the predominating lifestyle in nature—have been recognized for their essential role in the degradation of cellulose in nature, e.g., in soils or in the digestive tracts of ruminant animals. Cellulolytic biofilms allow for a high concentration of enzymes at the boundary layer between the solid substrate and the liquid phase and the more complete capture of hydrolysis products directly at the hydrolysis site, which is energetically favorable. Furthermore, enhanced expression of genes for carbohydrate active enzymes as a response to the attachment on solid substrate has been demonstrated for cellulolytic aerobic fungi and anerobic bacteria. In natural multispecies biofilms, the vicinity of different microbial species allows the creation of efficient food webs and synergistic interactions thereby, e.g., avoiding the accumulation of inhibiting metabolites. In this review, these topics are discussed and attempts to realize the benefits of biofilms in targeted applications such as the consolidated bioprocessing of lignocellulose are highlighted.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL
School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL > Agriculture
School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL > Agriculture > Sustainability and Circular Economy


Brethauer Studer, Simone0000-0001-7755-7593;
Shahab, Robert L. and
Studer, Michael Hans-Peter0000-0003-1083-0967


Q Science > Q Science (General)








Michael Hans-Peter Studer

Date Deposited:

13 Jan 2021 11:15

Last Modified:

27 Sep 2021 02:18

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Biofilm.Cellulose degradation.Cellulolytic enzymes.Solid state fermentation.Microbial communities




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