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Bacteria Could Transform Paper Industry Waste Into Useful Products

Getting more useful products out of renewable resources like wood is the goal of scientists who are using Canada’s only synchrotron. 

Dr. Lindsay Eltis, a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at The University of British Columbia, and his team are studying how bacteria transform wood-derived compounds into useful chemicals. Harnessing this process could lead to new, eco-friendly biotechnologies. 

The researchers used the Canadian Light Source (CLS) at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) to study an enzyme that breaks down the ring structures found in lignin, a major component of the woody biomass that is burned by the pulp and paper industry.