White-rot basidiomycetes can degrade all components of lignocellulosicbiomass, including lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose. Thus, harnessing the metabolic potential of these organisms is key to developing cost-effective technologies for the production of renewable energy and value-added co-products from residual plant biomass.
A comparative analysis of the white rot fungus, Phanerochaetecarnosa, isolated from softwoods, andPhanerochaetechrysosporium, isolated from hardwoods, revealed that P. carnosagenome is enriched with genes that encode P450 monooxygenasesthat can participate in extractives degradation, and manganese peroxidases involved in lignin degradation. Researchers led by those at the University of Toronto and the DOE Joint Genome Institute concluded that the significant expansion of P450 genes in P. carnosa, along with differences in carbohydrate- and lignin-degrading enzymes, could be correlated to the utilization of heartwood and sapwood preparations from both coniferous and hardwood species.
Softwoods (including coniferous trees) are the predominant form of land plant biomass in the Northern hemisphere, and are among the most recalcitrant biomass resources to bioprocess technologies.