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MSSI Research Forum - Tuesday, 22 March at 11h00

MSSI Research Forum - Tuesday, 22 March at 11h00

Materials & Surface Science Institute

PRESENTATION BY  Professor Edward Bayer, Department of Biological Chemistry, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel.


Cellulose, Cellulosomes and Designer Cellulosomes:  Playing with Nature!


Cellulose is the major component of the plant cell wall and as such comprises the most abundant renewable source of carbon and energy on our planet. This fact has spawned, in the last decade, a tremendous amount of interest in the use of cellulosic biomass to alleviate the burden and dependence of our society on fossil fuels. In the plant cell wall, however, cellulose and other polysaccharides assume a structural rather than a storage role, and their monosaccharide residues are locked in recalcitrance of the crystalline cellulosic structure, essentially inaccessible to microbes and their enzymes. Unlike aerobic fungi and bacteria, various anaerobic bacteria secrete potent multi-enzyme “cellulosome” complexes, which contain numerous cellulases, hemicellulases and associated enzymes, attached to the bacterial cell surface, thus enabling efficient degradation of cellulosic biomass. We have exploited the enhanced synergistic properties of cellulosomes by reconfiguring their Lego-like multi-modular components into discrete artificial complexes of predetermined design. We have thus dismantled the cellulosome into its component parts and reassembled them into “designer cellulosomes” of precise content and organization. Designer cellulosomes provide a promising platform for understanding the rationale behind its catalytic efficiency, and knowledge gained from their study may provide the basis for creating improved multi-enzyme assemblies for efficient conversion of plant-derived biomass into liquid biofuels.


Ed Bayer is a professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel. He is co-inventor of avidin-biotin technology and co-discoverer of the cellulosome concept.  In 1999, he founded, organized and chaired a Gordon Research Conference on this subject that is still ongoing. Since 2008, he has served on the scientific advisory board of the US-DOE BioEnergy Science Center (BESC). He is editor-in-chief of Biotechnology Advances, section editor for Biotechnology for Biofuels, and serves on the editorial board of several other journals, including Environmental Microbiology and Current Opinion in Biotechnology. He has authored over 400 articles and reviews, and is a member of both the American and the European Academies of Microbiology.

DATE:           Tuesday, 22 March 2016

TIME:            11h00

VENUE:        MSG-025 MSSI Building Extension


For further information, please contact:

Dr Damien Thompson, Tel. No: (061) 237734 or Email: damien.thompson@ul.ie