31 Jul '13, 1pm

Wood-Boring Gribbles Intrigue Biofuels Researchers

Wood-Boring Gribbles Intrigue Biofuels Researchers

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Tiny wood borers known colloquially as gribbles make their own enzymes and use them to eat through docks in harbor towns, earning enmity from fishermen all around the world. Now, researchers from the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and elsewhere are exploring whether that curse can be turned into a blessing for the biofuels industry. The trouble with gribbles — that they can break down biomass into sugars even in harsh environments — might become the great thing about gribbles, as the industry searches for enzymes that can thrive in salt-rich, high-solids settings. Gribbles (scientific name: Limnoria quadripunctata ) are 1 to 3 millimeters long and have an organ called the hepatopancreas that extends almost the entire length of their bodies. This organ is where gribbles make their own enzymes. In other words, they don't r...

Full article: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2013...

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