Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America


Thayer School of Engineering

Additional Department

Department of Biological Sciences


Specific cellulose hydrolysis rates (g of cellulose/g of cellulase per h) were shown to be substantially higher (2.7- to 4.7-fold) for growing cultures of Clostridium thermocellum as compared with purified cellulase preparations from this organism in controlled experiments involving both batch and continuous cultures. This “enzyme–microbe synergy” requires the presence of metabolically active cellulolytic microbes, is not explained by removal of hydrolysis products from the bulk fermentation broth, and appears due to surface phenomena involving adherent cellulolytic microorganisms. Results support the desirability of biotechnological processes featuring microbial conversion of cellulosic biomass to ethanol (or other products) in the absence of added saccharolytic enzymes.



Original Citation

Lu Y, Zhang YH, Lynd LR. Enzyme-microbe synergy during cellulose hydrolysis by Clostridium thermocellum. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Oct 31;103(44):16165-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0605381103. Epub 2006 Oct 23. Erratum in: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Dec 19;103(51):19605. PMID: 17060624; PMCID: PMC1637554.