Researchers look at enzymes from fungi that could improve biofuel production

In Massachusetts, soil fungi secrete a wide range of enzymes that play an important role in biofuel production and bioremediation of metal-contaminated soils and water. A recent study reveals different fungal species secrete a rich set of enzymes that share similar functions, despite species-specific differences in the amino acid sequences of these enzymes.

The study enhances understanding of the role fungi play in processes occurring in soil. The study could be used to engineer fungal enzymes for biofuel production and bioremediation efforts.

The researchers performed LC-MS/MS-based comparative proteomics using the Linear Ion Trap Quadrupole Orbitrap Velos mass spectrometer at the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL), a Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science user facility. This analysis revealed that fungi secrete a rich yet functionally similar suite of enzymes, despite species-specific differences in the amino acid sequences of these enzymes. These findings enhance understanding of the role Ascomycetes species play in biogeochemistry and climate dynamics and reveal lignocellulose-degrading enzymes that could be engineered for renewable energy production or bioremediation of metal-contaminated waters.

This study represents a collaboration among scientists from Harvard University, EMSL, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Smithsonian Institution, DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Aix-Marseille Université, King Abdulaziz University, University of Minnesota, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

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