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Chile: Scientists find 'biofuel-making' fungus

Source:  Copyright 2008, SciDev.Net
Date:  November 13, 2008
Byline:  Paula Leighton
Original URL: Status ONLINE

A fungus found in a Patagonian rainforest could provide an alternative source of biofuel, according to new research.

The fungus, Gliocladium roseum, grows in the ulmo tree (Eucryphia cordifolia), a species native to the Patagonia -- the southern territories of Argentina and Chile.

Researchers, whose work is published in Microbiology this month, found that G. roseum possesses the metabolic machinery to produce a wide variety of hydrocarbons virtually identical to the compounds in diesel obtained from crude oil.

Because of this property, the volatile gases produced by the fungus have been dubbed 'myco-diesel'.

"Many fungi make ethanol, but none to date produce this kind of mixture of diesel hydrocarbons," lead author Gary Strobel, professor of plant sciences and plant pathology at the US-based Montana State University (MSU), told SciDev.Net.

A promising aspect of this discovery is that G. roseum produces myco-diesel directly from ...

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