Novel bacterial taxa in a minimal lignocellulolytic consortium and their potential for lignin and plastics transformation

Carlos Andrés Díaz Rodríguez, Laura Díaz-García, Boyke Bunk, Cathrin Spröer, Katherine Herrera, Natalia A. Tarazona, Luis M. Rodriguez-R, Jörg Overmann, Diego Javier Jiménez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The understanding and manipulation of microbial communities toward the conversion of lignocellulose and plastics are topics of interest in microbial ecology and biotechnology. In this study, the polymer-degrading capability of a minimal lignocellulolytic microbial consortium (MELMC) was explored by genome-resolved metagenomics. The MELMC was mostly composed (>90%) of three bacterial members (Pseudomonas protegens; Pristimantibacillus lignocellulolyticus gen. nov., sp. nov; and Ochrobactrum gambitense sp. nov) recognized by their high-quality metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs). Functional annotation of these MAGs revealed that Pr. lignocellulolyticus could be involved in cellulose and xylan deconstruction, whereas Ps. protegens could catabolize lignin-derived chemical compounds. The capacity of the MELMC to transform synthetic plastics was assessed by two strategies: (i) annotation of MAGs against databases containing plastic-transforming enzymes; and (ii) predicting enzymatic activity based on chemical structural similarities between lignin- and plastics-derived chemical compounds, using Simplified Molecular-Input Line-Entry System and Tanimoto coefficients. Enzymes involved in the depolymerization of polyurethane and polybutylene adipate terephthalate were found to be encoded by Ps. protegens, which could catabolize phthalates and terephthalic acid. The axenic culture of Ps. protegens grew on polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) nanoparticles and might be a suitable species for the industrial production of PHAs in the context of lignin and plastic upcycling.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalISME communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sept 2022
Externally publishedYes


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