January 12, 2009
Fungi could feed biofuel production
Tap the power of fungi to digest wood
and you have a simple way to produce biofuel feedstock.
Fungi have evolved to break down cellulose and lignin -- the
two main components of the cell walls of trees, shrubs and grasses
-- to access nutrients in the plants. This is also a key step in making
biofuels from wood, grass and agricultural waste.
Researchers have been successful in breaking down cellulose,
but breaking down lignin has proven more difficult.
Biofuel producers could use fungi directly as a low-cost means
of producing feedstock. Researchers could also study how fungi break
down lignen to mimic and optimize the process.
Residues: Biodegradation and Bioconversion by Fungi
Biotechnology Advances, published online November 24, 2008
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