Fungi that evolved to eat wood offer new biomass conversion tool

Twenty years ago, microbiologist Barry Goodell, now a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and colleagues discovered a unique system that some microorganisms use to digest and recycle wood. Three orders of ...

Termite gut holds a secret to breaking down plant biomass

In the Microbial Sciences Building at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the incredibly efficient eating habits of a fungus-cultivating termite are surprising even to those well acquainted with the insect's natural gift ...

Rotting away: Getting at the evolutionary roots of wood decay

Decay is a complex process in which organisms use a repertoire of enzymes to slowly exploit and ultimately digest their hosts. Fungi are master decayers of dead plant matter, including wood. So-called white rot fungi have ...

Retracing the roots of fungal symbioses

With apologies to the poet John Donne, and based on recent work from the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI), a DOE Office of Science user facility, it can be said that no plant is an island, entire ...

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