Woody biomass makes up the major portion of terrestrial carbon, and forest ecosystems contain enormous reservoirs of lignocellulose belowground, in dead trees, and litter. Decomposition of this recalcitrant material and mobilization of nutrients are major components of the carbon cycle and essential for forest health. Whether releasing carbon dioxide (CO2) or transforming humic substances, the mechanisms employed by these fungi and their interactions in situ are poorly understood. To obtain new information about the fungal communities and processes responsible for wood decomposition, metagenome and metatranscriptome analyses are proposed. Specific objectives include assessing the role of oxidative enzyme systems and non-enzymatic systems (e.g. Fenton chemistry) in the conversion of woody remains in old growth and in fire disturbed locations.
Proposer: Daniel Cullen, Forest Products Laboratory