“When we go into a forest we don’t see layers of dead branches because wood decay fungi take care of them,” said Igor Grigoriev, head of the DOE JGI’s Fungal Genomics Program and a senior author on the study. “So when we think about bioenergy and degrading biomass and converting that into biofuel, we would like to learn the most efficient ways of doing that from fungi, which have invented many ways of doing that in nature. Schizophyllum commune is the second white rot fungus and third wood degrader we’ve sequenced. The DOE JGI sequenced the first white rot fungal genome — Phanerochaete chrysosporium — in 2004. Then last year we sequenced the first brown rot fungal genome – Postia placenta.” Postia was found to utilize a unique arsenal of small oxidizing agents that blast through plant cell walls to decompose cellulose into simple sugars.
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