In half a century, one fungus has gone from being the bane of the Army quartermasters’ existence in the Pacific to industry staple and someday, as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s mission to promote national energy security through clean, renewable energy development, a biofuel producers’ best friend.
Trichoderma reesei’s makeover is due in part to scientific explorations that led to the development of mutant fungal strains that produce large quantities of biomass-degrading enzymes.
Now an international team of researchers led by scientists at the DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI), the French applied research center IFP– particularly concerned with renewable resources and energies — and the Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) provides the first genome-wide look at what these mutations are in order to understand just how cellulase production was first improved, and how it can be boosted even further.
More on the PNAS paper in the rest of the DOE JGI release. Or listen to the podcast to learn more about T. reesei.