During World War II, T. reesei frustrated American Army quartermasters in the South Pacific by speeding up the rate at which canvas supplies wore out. Now the same fungus is a key producer of industrial enzymes that are used, among other applications, to break down biomass for biofuel production.
Part of the makeover can be attributed to scientists who developed high cellulase-producing strains of the fungus through several rounds of treating the fungus with a variety of mutagens and then screening the resulting mutant strains to select those in which cellulase production had been increased.
Read on at e! Science News