From farm to fuel
Goats and sheep could make biomass processing cheaper and more efficient
Garden overgrown with brambles and weeds? Get the goats in and it’ll be cleared in no time thanks to their astonishing ability to digest almost everything.
Now, by harnessing the power of their indestructible microbiome, biomass processing may become cheaper and more efficient. Published in Science this week and covered by a number of news channels, Solomon and colleagues isolated fungi from the guts of sheep and goats and found they produce a huge range of biomass-degrading enzymes – far more than the organisms typically used by the biofuel industry. Their enzymatic profile was also highly responsive to changes in substrate, making the degradation process more efficient and opening up opportunities for the biomass industry to utilise other base materials.