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The Low Carbon Economy Ltd

03 Nov 2008 05:11:46

Fungus creates 'myco-diesel'

Fungus creates 'myco-diesel'
Biodiesel produced by a fungus during its natural lifecycle has been the subject of research by scientists at Montana State University.

A research paper published in the Microbiology journal claims that a fungus found in the Patagonian rainforest could create substances useful for diesel production when grown on an oatmeal-based agar.

The Gliocladium roesum produced a variety of hydrocarbons – key ingredients of fuel – which were measured in the air above the growing fungus.

Similarity between the hydrocarbons the fungus creates and diesel have led scientists to dub the resultant fuel myco-diesel.

Professor Gary Strobel of the Montana State University told the Environmental Data Interactive Exchange that existing biofuel production methods processed crops before they could be turned into useful compounds.

He added: "G. roseum can make myco-diesel directly from cellulose, the main compound found in plants and paper. This means if the fungus was used to make fuel, a step in the production process could be skipped."

Plans to raise the amount of biofuel used in road transport in the EU have been slowed down following claims that incentives to use crops and agricultural land for fuel instead of food were responsible for raising the costs of wheat, corn and other foodstuffs.


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