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Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592
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Institute for Microbial and Biochemical Techology

Project Title :  Oxidative systems of wood decay fungi
Project Number : FPL-4712-2A
Status : TERMINATED
Start Date : 07-23-2007
End Date : 07-22-2012


View the 24 publications associated with this project.

Principal Investigator:
Barbara L. Illman

Non Technical Summary
This research seeks to identify and understand the oxidative systems of wood decay fungi so that we can increase the efficacy of these naturally-occurring organisms in bioconversion technologies, devise new environmentally-sound ways to protect wood in use, and accelerate decomposition of forest litter. The principal research needs in this area are to identify, at the genetic and biochemical level, (1) the systems that selective white-rot fungi use to modify wood during bioprocessing and (2) the systems brown rot fungi use to penetrate the lignin in wood and depolymerize the cellulose.


Objectives Summary
The objectives of this research are to understand which aspects of fungal metabolism need to be optimized and which need to be deselected to obtain high-performance organisms and enzymes for technological application. The principal research needs in this area are to identify, at the genetic and biochemical level, (1) the systems that selective white-rot fungi use to modify wood during bioprocessing and (2) the systems brown rot fungi use to penetrate the lignin in wood and depolymerize the cellulose.


Approach Summary
This research involves basic investigations into the mechanisms of lignin and cellulose degradation by selected white rot and brown rot fungi. Emphasis will be on elucidating the chemistry of extracellular oxidative systems that these fungi produce, and identifying the genes and enzymes that are responsible for producing the oxidants. The underlying hypothesis for the work is that, because enzymes such as cellulases are too large to penetrate sound wood, decay fungi produce low-molecular-weight metabolites that can penetrate the lignin matrix in wood and generate oxidants in situ to initiate depolymerization of lignin or cellulose. Subsequent reactions between ferrous iron and reduced oxygen species then produce hydroxyl radicals, which are very strong oxidants that cleave both cellulose and lignin. Research also indicates that the fungi probably employ quinone reductase enzymes to maintain their hydroquinones in the reduced state and thus drive the reduction of iron and oxygen. It is not yet known how the fungi synthesize the hydroquinones, or how the hydroquinone-driven oxidation system is coordinated with production of enzymes such as cellulases, or how widespread this biodegradative mechanism is among wood decay fungi. We will address these problems in the following ways: 1. Begin to elucidate the biochemical pathways these fungi use to biosynthesize hydroquinones. These pathways could be key targets for inhibitors of wood decay, which might then find use as new wood preservatives. 2. Identify the quinone reductases, and the genes that encode them, from wood decay fungi. These enzymes are also potential targets for inhibition. Alternatively, it may be possible to up-regulate these reductases, with the result that the fungi are better biodegraders of lignocellulosic wastes or organopollutants. 3. Determine how hydroquinone production and quinone reductase expression is coordinated with the production of extracellular cellulases. This question is important because the selective delignification of wood by fungi is a potentially useful process that relies on the early production of small agents. 4. Determine, by screening a variety of white, brown, and soft rot fungi, how widespread the hydroquinone-dependent biodegradative mechanism is. Identify new biodegradative mediators that these fungi may use instead of hydroquinones. 5. Identify and develop new nano-protection systems for wood 6. Identify and characterize new metabolic pathways involved in wood decay that might serve as targets for inhibition of decay or provide new opportunities for bioconversion technologies. Specific emphasis will be on extracellular carbohydrate metabolism related to production of peroxide, reductants, and organic acids important during incipient decay of lignocellulosics. 7. Communicate the findings in high-quality scientific papers in refereed journals and in lectures before a variety of audiences.

Publications associated with this Project

Publication YearTitleDate Posted
2009Abscisic Acid Has a Key Role in Modulating Diverse Plant-Pathogen Interactions 1 [C] [W] [OA]05/17/10
2011Comparative evaluation of manganese peroxidase- and Mn(III)-initiated peroxidation of C18 unsaturated fatty acids by different methods11/08/11
2008Differential Expression in Phanerochaete chrysosporium of Membrane-Associated Proteins Relevant to Lignin Degradation10/15/10
2008Evidence for cleavage of lignin by a brown rot basidiomycete10/15/10
2011Exploring new strategies for cellulosic biofuels production10/01/12
2007Extracellular oxidative systems of the lignin-degrading Basidiomycete Phanerochaete chrysosporium10/15/10
2010Fungal biodegradation of lignocelluloses09/30/11
2009High-Resolution solution-state NMR of unfractionated plant cell walls10/20/10
2010Laccase and Its Role in Production of Extracellular Reactive Oxygen Species during Wood Decay by the Brown Rot Basidiomycete Postia placenta05/17/10
2012Lignin-degrading Peroxidases from Genome of Selective Ligninolytic Fungus Ceriporiopsis subverispora10/01/12
2011Multidimensional NMR analysis reveals truncated lignin structures in wood decayed by the brown rot basidiomycete Postia placenta10/23/11
2011Multidimensional NMR analysis reveals truncated lignin structures in wood decayed by the brown rot basidiomycete Postia placenta11/07/11
2010Mycoremediation of Waste Wood Treated with CCA and ACQ05/16/11
2007New insights into the ligninolytic capability of a wood decay ascomycete10/15/10
2009Oxadative Cleavage of Diverse Ethers by an Extracellular fungal Peroxygenase02/09/10
2011Oxidative cleavage of non-phenolic β-0-4 lignin model dimers by an extracellular aromatic peroxygenase09/07/11
2010Oxidizability of unsaturated fatty acids and of a non-phenolic lignin structure in the manganese peroxidase-dependent lipid peroxidation system01/10/11
2011Preparation of human drug metabolites using fungal peroxygenases10/01/12
2010Prevention11/30/10
2011Proteomic and functional analysis of the Cellulase system Expressed by Postia placenta during Brown Rot of Solid Wood11/25/11
2008Regioselective preparation of (R)-2-(4-hydroxyphenoxy)propionic acid with a fungal peroxygenase11/20/09
2009Regioselective preparation of 5-hydroxypropranolol and 4'-hydroxydiclofenac with a fungal peroxygenase08/23/10
2008Role of fungal peroxidases in biological ligninolysis10/15/10
2010Stepwise oxygenations of toluene and 4-nitrotoluene by a fungal peroxygenase01/10/11

Project Summaries last modified: 06-20-2011