Sequencing of Multiple Clostridial Genomes Related to Biomass Conversion and Biofuel Production
Modern methods to develop microbe-based biomass conversion processes require a system-level understanding of the microbes involved. Clostridium species have long been recognized as ideal candidates for processes involving biomass conversion and production of various biofuels and other industrial products. To expand the knowledge base for clostridial species relevant to current biofuel production efforts, we have sequenced the genomes of 20 species spanning multiple genera. The majority of species sequenced fall within the class III cellulosome-encoding Clostridium and the class V saccharolytic Thermoanaerobacteraceae. Species were chosen based on representation in the experimental literature as model organisms, ability to degrade cellulosic biomass either by free enzymes or by cellulosomes, ability to rapidly ferment hexose and pentose sugars to ethanol, and ability to ferment synthesis gas to ethanol. The sequenced strains significantly increase the number of noncommensal/nonpathogenic clostridial species and provide a key foundation for future studies of biomass conversion, cellulosome composition, and clostridial systems biology.