Context

As concerns about the environmental impact resulting from the use of fossil fuels increases, there is an urgent need to develop 'biorefineries' to generate biofuels and manufacture polymers, pharmaceuticals and commodity chemicals from plant feedstocks.

The long-term success of biorefining is dependent on the development of economical methods for processing plant biomass to exploit the energy-rich polysaccharides in cellulose for fermentation. While the efficient degradation of lignocellulose remains a problem for industry, it is carried out effectively in the natural environment by microbial communities and animals.

The major challenge in identifying the range of enzymes and other proteins during lignocellulose digestion by these organisms lies in the complexity of the process itself.

The research

Our research is focused on discovering new lignocellulose degrading enzymes and associated proteins using multi-omics approaches, combining the power of proteomics, transcriptomics and genomics, to identify proteins critical for lignocellulose deconstruction from microbial communities and animals.

This approach allows us to identify new types of lignocellulose active proteins, both broadening our fundamental understanding of this process, as well as providing novel activities for research and industrial applications.

Contact us

Professor Neil Bruce
Department of Biology
neil.bruce@york.ac.uk
+44 (0)1904 328777
Department of Biology, University of York, Wentworth Way, York YO10 5DD

Invertebrate wood digestive systems

This project builds on our previous work on the digestive systems of wood-boring and litter-feeding invertebrates.

Explore the project

Top left to bottom right: Firebrat, Limnoria, Shipworm, Chelura

Featured researcher
Neil Bruce

Neil Bruce

Professor Bruce's expertise is environmental biotechnology, biocatalysis, and biorefining.

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Featured researcher
Simon McQueen-Mason

Simon McQueen-Mason

Professor McQueen-Mason's research encompasses various aspects of lignocellulosic biorefining and biofuels.

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Contact us

Professor Neil Bruce
Department of Biology
neil.bruce@york.ac.uk
+44 (0)1904 328777
Department of Biology, University of York, Wentworth Way, York YO10 5DD