During World War II, Trichoderma 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 break down biomass for biofuel production.
In 50 short years, the fungus has gone from being the bane of the Army quartermasters’ existence in the Pacific to industry staple and to someday being a 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.
For more information, visit the DOE JGI.