Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Fungus Genome May Be The Key To Cellulosic Ethanol

By decoding the genome of a green fungus with a hunger for fibrous plants, scientists hope to boost the supply of cellulose-based ethanol, leaving more food for consumption and driving down transportation costs.
By way of background:
The high cost of cellulose-based ethanol comes from the expensive enzymes, derived from the fungus Tricoderma reesei, which are used to break down trees, corn stalks, paper, and other wood or pulp-based items.

For years, scientists have tried to economically produce enough enzymes to break cellulose down into simple sugars that can then be fermented into ethanol, but to no avail.

Having the genome of T. reesei "gives you a tool kit with all the tools, where before you were trying to blindly match things up," said Jason Stajich, a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley,
[Via Discovery News]

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