Filamentous fungi such as Trichoderma reesei and various Aspergillus species are the workhorses of the biotechnology industry, annually producing a vast array of products that includes billions of dollars in enzymes. These enzymes play key roles in biofuels production because they can break down plant biomass into fermentable sugars. The demand for fungal protein expression systems will only grow further as the market for biofuels and renewable chemicals continues to expand. To improve production of fungal strains that yield these critical enzymes, the researchers are working on phenotypic characterizations of several T. reesei and A. nidulans mutants through a combination of sequencing and microscopy. The information generated is expected to boost enzyme yields and also help make biofuels production from plant mass more cost-effective, reducing market resistance to its acceptance as an alternative energy source.
Proposer’s Name: Steven Harris