Journal of Applied and Natural Science 7 (2): 625-630 (2015)
Insect cellulolytic enzymes: Novel sources for degradation of lignocellulosic biomass
Monica Sachdeva Taggar
School of Energy Studies for Agriculture, College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana- 141 004 (Punjab), INDIA
Abstract : Alternative and renewable fuels derived from lignocellulosic biomass offer the potential to reduce our d
ependence on fossil fuels and mitigate global climate change. Cellulose is one of the major structural components in all lignocellulosic wastes and enzymatic depolymerization of cellulose by cellulases is an essential step in bio-ethanol production. Wood-degrading insects are potential source of biochemical catalysts for converting wood lignocellulose into biofuels. Cellulose digestion has been demonstrated in more than 20 insect families representing ten distinct insect orders. Termite guts been have considered as the “world’s smallest bioreactors” since they digest a significant proportion of cellulose (74-99%) and hemicellulose (65-87%) components of lignocelluloses they ingest. The lower termites harbor protistan symbionts in hindgut whereas higher termites lack these in the hind gut. Studies on cellulose digestion in termites and other insects with reference to ligno-cellulose degrading enzymes have been well focused in this review. The studies on insect cellulolytic systems can lead to the discovery of a variety of novel biocatalysts and genes that encode them, as well as associated unique mechanisms for efficient biomass conversion into biofuels.
Keywords : Bioethanol , Insect cellulases, Lignocellulosic biomass, Sustainable energy, Termites