Biohacking to digest Cellulose

Hello, I'm new here.

Despite being the most common organic compound in the biosphere, humans (and most mammals for that matter) seem unable to break the B-bonds in cellulose due to a lack of cellulase, thus denying ourselves a large source of energy. We have to acquire energy by moving up trophic levels to organisms that can efficiently digest cellulose, such as cows, which is a really inefficient process.

That's why I'm curious as to see if we can hack ourselves to break down cellulose, thereby allowing us to get more energy directly from plants. I think this could especially useful to people who are vegetarian or who live in countries where access to meat is a luxury. I'm interested in the bacteria Fibrobacter succinogenes which seems to produce cellulase. The few animals that can break down cellulose tend to have huge guts so I wonder if it's possible to line human intestines with this stuff since it has a pretty large surface area and be able to extract at least some additional energy from cellulose. Thoughts?


  • This sounds like a similar concept to the thought emporiums video on lactose intolerance. My question is how would the body respond to Fibrobacter succinogenes being in the body and would our micro biome be a good environment for it to grow

  • The problem I would see is cellulose in your diet is what makes up the “fiber” that makes everything go smoothly in your intestines.
  • I think if this is possible some fiber would still not be digested due to time constraints. After all cows can digest some cellulose but are still able to get things moving through their poop chute.

  • edited September 2018
    C_Money you have a point there. I guess then the real questions would be 1) how prevalent it is in a cows track. 2) How would it compete with our normal flora.

    The only other thought I could add is that cows diets are plant based. Most human diets ( well at least here in the U.S.) is not.
  • why don't you have a cas9 targeting plasmid that inserts the gene right next to the gene to break down lactose so not only is it now controlled but your body has the ability to make it itself now no need to worry about bacteria put this on the same virus chironex used to cure his lactose intolerance btw u can get the gene made by twist for 54.18 usd that includes shipping and here is the fasta. glad i could help @C_Money

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