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:3/28/2017)... , March 28, 2017 ... Biometrics), Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video ... and Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published by ... in 2016 and is projected to reach USD 75.64 ... 2017 and 2022. The base year considered for the ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 24, 2017 Research and Markets has announced ... Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" report to ... The ... a CAGR of around 15.1% over the next decade to reach ... analyzes the market estimates and forecasts for all the given segments ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... Lithuania , March 21, 2017   ... and object recognition technologies, today announced the release ... kit (SDK), which provides improved facial recognition using ... cameras on a single computer. The new version ... to improve accuracy, and it utilizes a Graphing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/25/2017)... ... July 25, 2017 , ... ... and improve efficiency of livestock farming while reducing the use of antibiotics and ... intellectual property from Cornell University. , These new proprietary technologies expand the ...
(Date:7/24/2017)... Jersey (PRWEB) , ... July 24, 2017 , ... ... firms across the US and Canada who have proven their superior service quality ... Inavero identified Spearhead Staffing as an industry leader based on service quality ratings ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... , ... July 20, 2017 , ... ... directory of leading radiology and imaging centers around the U.S. that offer MR ... highly accurate alternative to needle biopsy for staging liver fibrosis assessment. , ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... ... ... VIC Technology Venture Development™ (VIC™), is pleased to announce that ... continues to strengthen and diversify VIC’s board. , "We are excited to have Jamie ... accomplished business executive with a broad range of experience directly relevant to VIC as ...
Breaking Biology Technology: