Navigation Links
Turning fungus into fuel
Date:5/4/2008

LOS ALAMOS, New Mexico, May 4, 2008A spidery fungus with a voracious appetite for military uniforms and canvas tents could hold the key to improvements in the production of biofuels, a team of government, academic and industry researchers has announced.

In a paper published today in Nature Biotechnology, researchers led by Los Alamos National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute announced that the genetic sequence of the fungus Tricoderma reesei has uncovered important clues about how the organism breaks down plant fibers into simple sugars. The finding could unlock possibilities for industrial processes that can more efficiently and cost effectively convert corn, switchgrass and even cellulose-based municipal waste into ethanol. Ethanol from waste products is a more-carbon-neutral alternative to gasoline.

The fungus T. reesei rose to dubious fame during World War II when military leaders discovered it was responsible for rapid deterioration of clothing and tents in the South Pacific. Named after Dr. Elwyn T. Reese, who, with colleagues, originally isolated the hungry fungus, T. reesei was later identified as a source of industrial enzymes and a role model for the conversion of cellulose and hemicelluloseplant fibersinto simple sugars.

The organism uses enzymes it creates to break down human-indigestible fibers of plants into the simplest form of sugar, known as a monosaccharide. The fungus then digests the sugars as food.

Researchers decoded the genetic sequence of T. reesei in an attempt to discover why the deep green fungus was so darned good at digesting plant cells. The sequence results were somewhat surprising. Contrary to what one might predict about the gene content of a fungus that can eat holes in tents, T. reesei had fewer genes dedicated to the production of cellulose-eating enzymes than its counterparts.

We were aware of T. reeseis reputation as producer of massive quantities of degrading enzymes, however we were surprised by how few enzyme types it produces, which suggested to us that its protein secretion system is exceptionally efficient, said Los Alamos bioscientist Diego Martinez (also at the University of New Mexico), the studys lead author. The researchers believe that T. reeseis genome includes clusters of enzyme-producing genes, a strategy that may account for the organisms efficiency at breaking down cellulose.

On an industrial scale, T. reesei could be employed to secrete enzymes that can be purified and added into an aqueous mixture of cellulose pulp and other materials to produce sugar. The sugar can then be fermented by yeast to produce ethanol.

The sequencing of the Trichoderma reesei genome is a major step towards using renewable feedstocks for the production of fuels and chemicals, said Joel Cherry, director of research activities in second-generation biofuels for Novozymes, a collaborating institution in the study. The information contained in its genome will allow us to better understand how this organism degrades cellulose so efficiently and to understand how it produces the required enzymes so prodigiously. Using this information, it may be possible to improve both of these properties, decreasing the cost of converting cellulosic biomass to fuels and chemicals.


'/>"/>

Contact: James E. Rickman
jamesr@lanl.gov
505-665-9203
DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Montana State University researcher finds renewed interest in turning algae into fuel
2. Cow stomach holds key to turning corn into biofuel
3. Turning on cell-cell communication wipes out staph biofilms
4. Fungus genome yielding answers to protect grains, people and animals
5. Scientists complete genome sequence of fungus responsible for dandruff, skin disorders
6. Scientists find missing evolutionary link using tiny fungus crystal
7. Evolution of the sexes: What a fungus can tell us
8. Killer fungus spells disaster for wheat
9. Smithsonians National Museum of Natural History reveals ants as fungus farmers
10. Lean and mean biomass-degrading fungus reveals capabilities for improved biofuel production
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/2/2017)... , March 2, 2017 Who risk to ... Download the full report: https://www.reportbuyer.com/product/4313699/ ... FINGERPRINT SENSOR FIELD? Fingerprint sensors using capacitive technology ... fingerprint sensor vendor Idex forecasts an increase of 360% ... devices and of the fingerprint sensor market between 2014 ...
(Date:2/28/2017)... Feb. 28, 2017   Acuant , a leading ... announces significant enhancements to new and core technologies building ... products include mobile and desktop Acuant FRM TM ... - a real time manual review of identity documents ... provides the fastest and most accurate capture software to ...
(Date:2/27/2017)...   Strategic Cyber Ventures , the industry,s first ... $3.5 million investment in  Polarity , the first commercial ... DC based and is led by cybersecurity veterans ... Ron Gula , also a longtime cybersecurity veteran and ... series A round of funding. This new funding will ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition ... their offering. ... The Global Market for Bioproducts Should Reach $714.6 ... CAGR of 8.9%, This research report quantifies ... major product segments: bio-derived chemicals, biofuels, pharmaceuticals (biodrugs and herbal/botanicals), ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... -- GlobeImmune, Inc. today announced it has entered into a ... of its common stock to NantCell, Inc., a member ... sale of its common stock, NantCell has agreed to ... 200,000 shares, an estimated $2.0 million in value, of ... to enter into this strategic agreement with NantCell," said ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... SEATTLE , March 23, 2017 ... translational development of novel therapies in immuno-oncology, today ... to lead" small molecule compounds that activate interferon ... (RLR) pathways and demonstrate immune-mediated tumor regression in ... in the study who demonstrated complete tumor regression ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... Colo. , March 23, 2017  Agriculture technology ... Series A financing and note conversion to commercialize its ... Planet is focused on developing products that are simultaneously ... $30 million in the last 18 months. This latest ... North Bridge Venture Partners. The company,s ...
Breaking Biology Technology: