Biomass Depolymerization projects

Fungi and Deconstruction of Lignin and Other Components of Miscanthus Cell Walls -- Completed

This project's goal was to identify cell wall deconstructing enzymes from the fungi that are best adapted to decay Miscanthus cell walls. To do this, the group discovered and brought into cultivation the fungi that decompose the feedstock of choice, Miscanthus giganteus.  They also worked to understand how fungi coordinate their genomes to degrade Miscanthus cell walls.

project Highlights

2011 Highlights

Taylor’s group published the first study of the exhaustive cultivation of fungi that naturally decay energy grasses, Miscanthus and sugarcane. They also conducted the first systematic testing and ranking of the ability of fungi that naturally decay energy grasses to bioconvert Miscanthus in solid-substrate fermentation. Researchers found more than a dozen fungi that perform better than the industry standard, Trichoderma reesei. They also conducted exhaustive cultivation of thermophilic fungi that naturally decay wheat straw and composting sugarcane bagasse. Researchers found several known thermophilic fungi and one very new one.

2010 Highlights

In 2010 Taylor’s group collected decaying leaves and stems of Illinois Miscanthus and Louisiana sugarcane and used them to cultivate nearly 1000 fungi that DNA variation sorted into 95 species. They then assessed the ability of the 35 most common to bioconvert Miscanthus.  Now researchers are studying the enzymes produced by these fungi.

2009 Highlights

Taylor’s research group collected decaying Miscanthus from seven sites in Illinois and decaying Saccharum from 11 sites in Louisiana and cultivated the fungi associated with the material. They recovered nine hundred fungal colonies and categorized them with molecular markers. The rare recovery of known weed fungi and the frequent recovery of Hypocreales, home to known decay fungi, validated their approach. To cast their enzyme discovery net as broadly as possible, researchers chose to assay the capacity of the fungi to consume whole, ground pretreated Miscanthus.



Published in 2011

Systematic Search for Cultivatable Fungi That Best Deconstruct Cell Walls of Miscanthus and Sugarcane in the Field, Prachand Shrestha, Timothy Szaro, Thomas Bruns, John Taylor, Journal of Applied Environmental Microbiology, doi: 10.1128/AEM.02996-10, June 17, 2011.



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