Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Shiitake Mushrooms' Secret May Benefit Earth-Friendly Fuels

Date:
December 20, 2005
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Fallen logs on the forest floor make a perfect home for Shiitake mushrooms. These fungi--sold as a delicacy in the produce section of your local supermarket--thrive on the downed wood, turning it into sugars that they use for food. Now, Agricultural Research Service scientists in California are looking at bringing the gourmet mushrooms' mostly unstudied talent indoors. And, as a first step towards doing that, they've found and copied a Shiitake gene that's key to the mushroom's ability to dissolve wood.

Shiitake mushroom.
Credit: Photo by Scott Bauer / courtesy of USDA/Agricultural Research Service

Fallen logs on the forest floor make a perfect home for Shiitake mushrooms. These fungi--sold as a delicacy in the produce section of your local supermarket--thrive on the downed wood, turning it into sugars that they use for food.

Now, Agricultural Research Service scientists in California are looking at bringing the gourmet mushrooms' mostly unstudied talent indoors. And, as a first step towards doing that, they've found and copied a Shiitake gene that's key to the mushroom's ability to dissolve wood.

Called Xyn11A, the gene carries the instructions that the mushroom uses to make an enzyme known as xylanase. The researchers want to see if a ramped-up version of the gene could be put to work digesting rice hulls or other harvest leftovers.

If enzymes can do that quickly and efficiently in huge vats, or fermenters, at biorefineries, they could help make ethanol and other products a practical alternative to today’s petroleum-based fuels, for example. That’s according to Charles C. Lee, an ARS research chemist.

With colleagues, Lee isolated and tested the Xyn11A gene, the first of its kind to be discovered in Shiitake mushrooms, Lentinula edodes.

Lee did the work with research chemist Dominic W.S. Wong and chemical engineer George H. Robertson. The scientists are based at the ARS Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif.

In laboratory experiments, they transferred the Xyn11A gene into yeast. Equipped with the gene, the yeast was able to produce xylanase. In nature, the yeast normally can’t do that.

The researchers described their work earlier this year in Protein Journal.

Next, the scientists will work on engineering the mushroom gene so that it enables yeast or some other organism to produce greater amounts of the xylanase enzyme in less time. Gains in efficiency could help make biorefining of plant-based fuels and other products a practical alternative to petroleum refining.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific research agency.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Shiitake Mushrooms' Secret May Benefit Earth-Friendly Fuels." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 December 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051216185420.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2005, December 20). Shiitake Mushrooms' Secret May Benefit Earth-Friendly Fuels. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051216185420.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Shiitake Mushrooms' Secret May Benefit Earth-Friendly Fuels." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051216185420.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins