Mycocarburant, diesel producing fungi

Diesel produced by mushrooms could be an alternative to conventional fuels and first generation biodiesel produced from vegetable oil.

Called "mycofuel", this alternative was developed by Professor Gary Stobel of the University of Montana (United States). The fungus responsible for this natural diesel production is Gliocladium roseum. Gliocadium roseum is collected from the forests of Chilean Patagonia. It grows inside the branches of an ancient family of trees called "ulmo".

When this fungus thrives in the absence of oxygen, it naturally produces
no less than 55 volatile hydrocarbons, including heptane and octane, two components of diesel.

The quantities of gas emitted are however too small to justify a production line. Sequencing of the genome of the fungus is underway to discover the genes involved in the production of hydrocarbons.

Elise Dubuisson

Source: The Evening, 7 / 11 / 08, p15

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