An international group of scientists have cracked the genetic code of two heat-loving fungi, Myceliophthora thermophila and Thielavia terrestris, and could use their findings for faster and greener development of biofuels derived from biomass.
They discovered that the two fungi can accelerate the breakdown of fiber-containing biomass at temperatures between 40 and 70 degrees Celsius. While this is too hot for most enzymes, these fungi succeed doing their job properly.
“Organisms that thrive at high temperatures are rare. Fewer than 40 heat-loving fungi have been identified and they hold great promise in the production of many chemicals and biomass-based fuels. We have cracked the genetic blueprint of two such fungi.
“To our knowledge these are the only organisms, aside from a few bacteria, whose genomes have been fully sequenced from end-to end,” says senior author Adrian Tsang, a biology professor at Concordia University and director of its Centre for Structural and Functional Genomics.
Tsang also says that the team’s next goal is to find out how the fungi work at such high temperatures and how they manage to break down woody plant materials.
This research could transform ordinary green waste like leaves into renewable biofuels and could also substitute petroleum in otherwise environmentally harmful chemical processes.
,” says senior author Adrian Tsang, a biology professor at Concordia University and director of its Centre for Structural and Functional Genomics.