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Surface characterization of Populus during Caldicellulosiruptor bescii growth by TOF-SIMS analysis

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ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
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Caldicellulosiruptor bescii is a thermophilic, anaerobic bacterium that is capable of utilizing unpretreated biomass in addition to breaking down cellulose and hemicellulose into simple sugars. Despite the fact that C. bescii must first bind to the surface of the biomass, there has been no analysis of the morphological or chemical changes to the biomass surface as a result of incubation with the micro-organism. To understand more about C. bescii growth, juvenile poplar stems were sectioned (80 μm thick) and incubated with C. bescii beyond the typical 24 h experiment length. Monitoring the cell counts during incubation revealed a biphasic growth pattern. The impact the micro-organism had on the surface was determined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), which showed physical crevices in the cell wall caused by the C. bescii along with a decrease of polysaccharide ions and an increase in lignin ions on the poplar surface. Employing infrared microspectroscopy, the decreasing trend was corroborated.