Scientists Find a Fungus That Produces Biodiesel
By KBB.com Editors on November 3, 2008 6:20 PMOn a trek deep into the Patagonian rainforest of South America, a research group from Montana State University discovered a new strain of fungus that they say can actually produce elements of biodiesel as a direct function of its natural lifecycle. So far the fungus, dubbed Gliocladium Roseum, is the only organism ever found that can perform this potentially game-changing feat, thanks to its unique ability to manufacture several different kinds of molecules containing the long hydrocarbon chains that are an inherent part of diesel fuels.
In a paper published in the Microbiology Journal, the team noted that when Gliocladium Roseum was grown back in the lab, it provided one more surprise by creating a biofuel with properties that even more closely resemble existing petroleum-based automotive diesel. One of the group's principals, Professor Gary Strobel, noted another exceptional characteristic of Gliocladium Roseum: it has the ability to make diesel directly from cellulose. According to Strobel, that capability was totally unexpected and has far-reaching implications for any subsequent commercialization efforts.