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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 :  Bioconversion of thinnings
Project Number : FPL-4712-4A
Start Date : 07-23-2007
End Date : 07-22-2012

View the 14 publications associated with this project.

Principal Investigator:
Barbara L. Illman

Non Technical Summary
This research seeks to optimize lignocellulose-degrading fungi for bioprocessing and bioconversion of wood to fuels and other chemicals by understanding the functional genomics of these organisms. Successful development of these emerging technologies will have a significant impact on forest-based economies and water quality.

Objectives Summary
The objectives of this research are to identify, characterize and understand the structure, function and regulatory properties of enzymes from white rot fungi that catalyze the initial depolymerization of lignin. A constellation of oxidases, peroxidases, and hydrogen peroxide are responsible for generating highly reactive free radicals that undergo a complex series of spontaneous cleavage reactions. The nonspecific nature and extraordinary oxidation potential of the enzymes from white rot fungi has attracted considerable interest for industrial applications such as such as biological pulping of paper, fiber bleaching, and remediation of organopollutants such as pesticides, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, PCBs and other halogenated aromatics (including dioxins), certain textile dyes, and an array of hydrocarbons associated with the wood preservation industry. Successful development of these emerging technologies will have a significant impact on forest-based economies and water quality.

Approach Summary
This research will identify and characterize key genes involved in the degradation of lignin and related aromatic hydrocarbons, cellulose, and hemicellulose. The genes include those encoding lignin peroxidases, manganese peroxidases, phenol oxidases, and an array of glyosyl hyrolases. High throughput structural and functional genomic investigations are needed and, because of the scale and cost of such investigations, national and international collaborative efforts are expected. In the course of these studies, pure recombinant enzymes will be produced, and genetically engineered strains will be constructed and evaluated. Successful completion of research will require the combined resources of FPL, industrial and university collaborators, and external research grants. Accomplishments planned for the next five years include the following: 1. Through functional genomics investigations, elucidate the major metabolic pathways controlling extracellular oxidative enzyme systems. Emphasis is on the premier model white rot system, Phanerochaete chrysosporium. 2. Facilitate the completion and public release of fungal genomes directly related to lignocellulose deconstruction. Emphasis is on Trichoderma reesei, Postia placenta, and Pleurotus ostreatus. 3. Construct genetically engineered fungi for various applications. 4. Produce recombinant proteins for basic biochemical investigations and for commercial feasibility studies. 5. Communicate research through high impact, peer-reviewed publications, through presentation at scientific conferences, and through consultations with industrial, academic, government partners.

Publications associated with this Project

Publication YearTitleDate Posted
2009Comparative analysis of white rot and brown rot fungi: genomes, transcriptomes and secretomes05/16/11
2012Comparative genomics of Ceriporiopsis subvermispora and Phanerochaete chrysosporium provide insight into selective ligninolysis09/18/12
2010Comparative Transcriptome and Secretome Analysis of Wood Decay Fungi Postia placenta and Phanerochaete chrysosporium07/15/10
2011Fueling the future with fungal genomics11/08/11
2008Fungal symbiosis unearthed11/20/09
2008Genome sequencing and analysis of the biomass-degrading fungus Trichoderma reesei (syn. Hypocrea jecorina)02/09/10
2009Genome, Transcriptome, and secretome analysis of wood decay fungus Postia plancenta supports unique mechanisms of lignocellulose conversion11/20/09
2012Insight into tradeoff between wood decay and parasitism from the genome of a fungal forest pathogen06/12/12
2011Sequencing the fungal tree of life11/08/11
2011Significant Alteration of Gene Expression in Wood Decay Fungi postia placenta and Phanerochaete chrysosporium by Plant Species07/12/11
2012The Paleozoic Origin of Enzymatic Lignin Decomposition Reconstructed from 31 Fungal Genomes08/10/12
2011The Plant Cell Wall-Decomposing Machinery Underlies the Functional Diversity of Forest Fungi11/16/11
2009Transcriptome and Secretome Analyses of Phanerochaete chrysosporium Reveal Complex Patterns of Gene Expression06/26/09
2011Understanding LiP Promoters from Phanerochaete chrysosporium: A Bioinformatic Analysis09/18/12

Project Summaries last modified: 06-20-2011