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'Dry Rot' Genome Offers Lessons for Biofuel Pretreatment Processes: Breaking Down Cellulose Without Blasting Lignin

Feared by realtors and homeowners alike, dry rot due to the fungus Serpula lacrymans causes millions of dollars worth of damage to homes and buildings around the world. This brown rot fungus' capacity to break down the cellulose in wood led to its selection for sequencing by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI) in 2007, with the goal of identifying the enzymes involved in the degradation process and using the information to improve cellulosic biofuels production.

As reported online July 14 in Science Express, an international team of scientists including DOE JGI researchers compared the genome of Serpula lacrymans, the second brown rot fungus to have its genome sequenced, against 10 other published fungal genomes. The DOE JGI sequenced seven of these genomes among them Postia placenta, the first brown rot fungus sequenced. The analysis not only allowed researchers to understand the chemical reactions involved in the mechanism by which Serpula breaks down cellulose, it also sheds light on the role of brown rot fungi in the development of the largest terrestrial ecosystem -- the subarctic cool climate boreal forest -- and therefore the fungi's role in the global carbon cycle.

Click "source" for entire article.

"The Plant Cell Wall–Decomposing Machinery Underlies the Functional Diversity of Forest Fungi"
(http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2011/07/13/science.1205411.abstract?sid=38536868-b9be-4798-b070-b484f94ddb55)
 
 

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