May 04, 2008

Fungus Could Be Key To Advanced Ethanol Production

Los Alamos and Department of Energy researchers have been studying a fungus which could hold key to more efficient cellulosic ethanol production.Researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy have succeeded in sequencing the genome of a fungus that could hold great promise in the production of fuels from cellulosic materials.

The fungus was discovered during World War II when soldiers noticed that tents and uniforms were being destroyed by the organism while fighting in the South Pacific. The fungus, T. reesei was found to be very efficient at breaking down cellulosic materials into simple sugars.

“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.”

Source : Press Release

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