In recent years, scientists around the world are trying to find ways to develop a cheap way to produce low-carbon fuel, which in the future can replace petroleum products. And it is quite possible that in this case, as often happens, nature itself will come to the aid of man. After all, according to the publication Nature Communications, a group of researchers from York University, together with their colleagues found in the intestines of marine invertebrates protein that can process wood into low-carbon biofuels.
According to the scientific work, animals Limnoriidae can become a source of saving the planet. Limnoriidae-a family of crustaceans, which has about 55 species with a body length of 1 to 10 millimeters. The fact that these crustaceans have adapted to eat wood and its waste, falling from rivers into the seas and oceans. These animals are, in a way,” sea termites”, because they are able to eat and wooden ships, and even those that are covered with special substances that prevent harmful effects. According to the lead author of the study Simon McQueen-Mason,
“These are the only animals known today that have a completely sterile digestive system. This greatly facilitates the process of studying the processes of digestion in comparison with the same termites.”
During the study of marine life, scientists have found that first Limnoriidae “crushed” tree into many small fragments in the upper gastrointestinal tract, and already in the lower parts of their intestines are hemocyanin proteins (GH7), through which crustaceans can extract sugar from the tree for food.
“GH7 is the same group of enzymes used by fungi in the processing and decomposition of wood.”
Moreover, further research has shown that the treatment of wood hemocyanins as a result produced almost 2 times more low-molecular sugars than using the “traditional” thermochemical methods of processing of wood. Further, the resulting compounds can already be used for the production of biofuels.