PI: Amadeus Yeremia Pribowo, B.Sc., Ph.D.
Team Member: To Be Added
External Collaborators: To Be Added
Students Involvement: To Be Added
The overarching goal of this project is to explore Indonesia’s rich biodiversity in two different ecosystems, namely peat swamp forests and buffalo manure, to find new enzymes and microbes that can improve the efficiency of converting Indonesia’s abundant biomass residues into energy and other value-added products. Indonesia is one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots, and its microbial diversity has the potential to be a rich source for various biological products such as novel pharmaceuticals or industrial enzymes. Unfortunately, much of this microbial biodiversity remains unknown to science due to the insufficient research funding and capabilities in Indonesia. This project aims to build technical capabilities in metagenomics research to explore the microbial diversity of Indonesia and build a culture collection to facilitate ex-situ conservation of this microbial diversity. In addition, research will focus on identifying novel enzymes to improve the bioconversion process. Microbial communities living in peat swamp forests and buffalo manure are likely sources of novel enzymes that can break down lignocellulose, the fibrous material in plants. The high proportion of lignin in peat (Factors, 2015) may naturally promote the selection of microbial communities that can degrade or modify lignin. Similarly, a recent study has discovered vast arrays of enzymes that are active on lignocellulosic biomass from buffalo rumen (Duan et al., 2009). As buffaloes can thrive on low-quality feeds that are hard to digest (Bilal et al., 2006), the microflora living in the buffalo rumen are a likely source for enzymes that can effectively break down hard to digest biomass materials. To date, no studies have been done to thoroughly explore the potential of microbial enzymes from these two ecosystems for improving the efficiency of the bioconversion process. As a third objective, the researchers will also work to identify yeasts that can convert lignocellulosic sugars to oil for biofuels.