Fungus joins biofuel armoury

There’s some excitement about a newly discovered fungus that makes chemicals similar to biofuels from cellulose. (Thanks David). It looks legit, because a couple of my colleagues sent me this link (thanks Clay and Doris).

This isn’t the first time fungus has been suggested. But, the more the merrier. It would be interesting to see some data on the rate, of biofuel production and I note that the new fungus directly excretes/produces biofuels. A paper on the fungus in the Journal Biochemistry and Molecular Biology says:

Certainly, it is both timely and interesting that G. roseum

can utilize cellulose for the production of hydrocarbons

given the enormous volumes of foodstuff grains currently

being utilized for alcohol (fuel) production. However, the

yields of these compounds were lower than those found on

the oatmeal-based medium, probably because the digestion

of cellulose is rate limiting. Increases in the yields of these

products may be enhanced by new developments in

fermentation technology, membrane technologies and

genetic manipulation (Danner & Braun, 1999).

“The fungus can even make these diesel compounds from cellulose,” says Professor Gary Strobel from Montana State University, which incidentally has patented the fungus. My guess, and that’s all it can be, is that the answer lies in the genetic make up of the fungus (do they have genomes?). Unless the fungus is particularly fast growing, yields might be higher from modified microbes? 

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2 Responses to Fungus joins biofuel armoury

  1. David B. Benson 5 November, 2008 at 8:02 pm #

    (do they have genomes?) Yes.

    Unless the fungus is partucliarly[sic] fast growig[sic], yeilds[sic] might be higher from modified microbes? Genetic modification will likely help to create a better organism for the purpose of producing lots of myco-diesel.

    This, IMO, has the potential to be quite a winner, despite alae growing faster.

  2. Simon Robinson 7 November, 2008 at 9:05 am #

    Pity there aren’t any obvious chromosomes for English spelling. An injection of stem cells laced with it could make all the difference…

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