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Fungus fermentation aids biofuel research

NSF Award:

EFRI-HyBi: Fungal Processes for Direct Bioconversion of Cellulose to Hydrocarbons  (Montana State University)

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Converting plant cellulose (the fiber found in leaves, stems and stalks) to hydrocarbon fuel takes a great deal of energy. However, Montana State University researchers, led by Brent Peyton, have discovered a process that could eliminate one of the most costly and energy intensive steps in biofuel production.

Peyton and his colleagues harnessed a naturally occurring fermentation process in a recently discovered fungus named Gliocladium roseum. The fungus breaks down plant cellulose into hydrocarbon molecular chains that are virtually the same as those found in petroleum. To maximize hydrocarbon yields and production rates, the team is characterizing and optimizing G. roseum's metabolism. This research could ultimately lead to more efficient biofuel production.

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  • a researcher uses fungi to ferment cellulose into petroleum
A researcher uses fungi to ferment cellulose into petroleum fuel.
Kelly Gorham, Montana State University

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