Science

Ancient mushrooms from the goat stomach deliver renewable fuel standard

A discovery by U.S. researchers is bloody good. Promised the controversial biofuels still as a good future. Because a true treasure chest of the enzyme was found in the stomachs of goats with the bio fuel and can be produced in much less problematic matter. Rapeseed and corn can on the plate, must not be built for the tank.The production of biofuel is ecologically sensible only if this is extracted from plant waste and Woody parts of plants. Therefore, researchers looked now gentle herbivores such as goats, sheep, and horses once thoroughly in the stomach because these animals do exactly that. A rather unsavory way led to the objective: first, the scientists investigated the intestinal flora of herbivores. You re-package around the feces of animals to find references to potentially useful microbes for the optimal exploitation of plant remains in the animal stomachs.

“Nature has optimized these fungi”

You were actually three promising representatives of living in the gut of animals, tiny mushrooms. “These fungi make up only eight percent of the intestinal flora, decompose up to 50 per cent of the recorded plant food,”Kevin Salomon of the University of California, Santa Barbara These fungi are among the oldest on Earth. And that has brought it up apparently to true experts. “Nature has these fungi optimized so that they apparently have the largest repertoire of enzymes to break down biomass”, reported Director of studies Michelle o’ Malley from the University California.

Director of studies Michelle o' Malley has intensively deals, how the gut fungi from goats work. Photo: Sonia Fernandez, UC Santa BarbaraDirector of studies Michelle o’ Malley has intensively deals, how the gut fungi from goats work. Photo: Sonia Fernandez, UC Santa Barbara

This enzyme arsenal from the belly of the goat could prove true Treasury for the production of biofuels and also chemical raw materials from plant waste. Because all developed industrial processes have the serious drawback that the Woody parts of plants or grass before the conversion to biodiesel elaborately under high temperatures and with the addition of chemicals have to be pre-treated.

Without this effort, an economic operation of such systems is not possible. And even then, some components of the plants prove not usable for the previously commercially used and mostly expensive genetically modified enzymes.

Hugely adaptable mushrooms

The gut fungi from goat, sheep and horse, however production of hundreds of enzymes, which they themselves can build lignocellulose and other very resistant plant components without additional effort and without any problems. These fungi can break down not only grass, Woody parts and other robust plants waste, they are still this tremendously adaptable.

Mushrooms make enzyme production possible

The researchers were creative and gave all sorts of things as food the three fungal cultures: it was for the mushrooms, cellulose, Hemicellulose, lignin to decompose the glucose or the wood Xylan ingredient. The fungi not long hesitate and just switched to  enzyme production in a very short time. “Because these intestinal fungi have more tools for the conversion of biomass into fuel, they can work faster and at a greater variety of plant material,” says O’Malley. “This opens up many opportunities for the bio fuel industry.”