This relatively new field, which Schwarze calls Fungal Biotechnology, provides a means of improving the process of impregnating spruce and pine wood neither of which are particularly long-lasting or hard-wearing with protective and finishing agents. Schwarze is convinced that "this represents an enormous commercial potential, above all in Switzerland, where more than 60% of the forests are spruce and pine." Another possible application is improving the efficiency of methods for the production of biogenic fuels based on woody biomass.
In addition, the genetic sequence is expected to supply important information on the development of the fruiting body of the fungus and how this process can be optimized, for example in the cultivation of edible mushrooms. Considering that some 2.5 million tonnes of edible fungi are produced every year, this could well prove to be very profitable know-how.
|Contact: Dr. Francis W.M.R. Schwarze|
Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (EMPA)