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Joint Genome Institute Researchers found bioenergy potential in gut isolated fungi found in manure

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 Feb 23, 2016 Scientists researched that the fungi isolated from guts of horses, sheep and goats has potential for production of fuel. On February 18, it was reported by researchers in journal Science that anaerobic fungi isolated from gut performs equivalent to industry’s engineered fungi as they have similar ability to easily convert plant sugars into fuel. 

Michelle O’Malley, professor of chemical engineering at University of California, also the lead author stated that “Nature has engineered these fungi to be world’s largest repertoire of enzymes that breakdown the biomass”. The plant material is broken down by these enzymes. It was found by the researchers that these fungi have an ability to adapt their enzymes to waste, wood or anything on which they are fed. The findings suggested that the gut fungi could be modified by the industry in order to produce more improved enzymes which thereby leads to cheaper biofuels.

The finding was made by O’Malley in two facilities, the DOE Joint Genome Institute and the Environmental Molecular Science Lab at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Her finding resulted from collaboration of two facilities called as “Facility Integrating Collaborations for User Science (FICUS). Scientists from DOE, JGI, PNNL, Harvard and Harper Adams University also worked with O’Malley.

Susannah Tringe, DOE JGI deputy for User Programs stated that “By utilizing RNA sequencing & protein characterization potential at respective facilities, we have advanced biofuels research in ways not otherwise possible. It was known by O’Malley and her colleagues that proteins called as enzymes are excreted by hyphae of fungi which break down plant material and raw biomass into potential biofuel. 

According to Pharmaion’s report ,”India Industrial Enzymes Market Forecast and Opportunities, 2020”, it was assessed that with the diversification of enzymes, the fungi can convert the plant material into fuels in a better way.  It was found that the anaerobic gut fungi enzymes could advance biofuel production.


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