Cytophaga hutchinsonii is a soil bacterium that can utilize cellulose as a carbon source. The cellulose utilization system of C. hutchinsonii has been predicted to be novel and its endoglucanases could potentially be used in the production of cellulosic based biofuels. These enzymes could be used to process cellulose to glucose or other soluble sugars, which can be further converted to ethanol by yeast fermentation. Current biofuels utilize starches, primarily from corn, which has direct competition with farming space for food crops. This study focuses on observing the growth of C. hutchinsonii knockout mutant strains on cellulose substrate to better understand how the endoglucanase genes influence cellulose utilization. Attempts were made to create mutants lacking GH8 endoglucanase genes, but was unsuccessful. The previously generated GH9 and GH5 mutants were grown on cellulose with varying amounts of calcium, which is known to be a metallocofactor in enzyme activity. Normal cell growth was observed in the absence of calcium when cellulose was the sole carbon source. Higher concentrations of calcium inhibited cell growth on cellulose or caused cell death. However, we suggest that calcium concentrations <5mM be tested to determine an optimal concentration of calcium for growth on cellulose.


Timothy Secott

Committee Member

Matthew Kaproth

Committee Member

Yongtao Shu

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)

Program of Study



Biological Sciences


Science, Engineering and Technology

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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