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Fungus among us could become non-food source for biodiesel production

Date:
September 17, 2010
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
In the quest for alternatives to soybeans, palm, and other edible oilseed plants as sources for biodiesel production, enter an unlikely new candidate: A fungus, or mold, that produces and socks away large amounts of oils that are suitable for low-cost, eco-friendly biodiesel.

Community biodiesel pump in North Carolina.
Credit: iStockphoto/Logan Buell

In the quest for alternatives to soybeans, palm, and other edible oilseed plants as sources for biodiesel production, enter an unlikely new candidate: A fungus, or mold, that produces and socks away large amounts of oils that are suitable for low-cost, eco-friendly biodiesel.

That's the topic of a study in ACS' journal Energy & Fuels.

Victoriano Garre and colleagues point out that manufacturers usually produce biodiesel fuel from plant oils -- such as rapeseed, palm, and soy. However, expanded production from those sources could foster shortages that mean rising food prices. In addition, oilseeds require scare farmland, and costly fertilizers and pesticides. To meet growing demand for biodiesel fuel, scientists are looking for oil sources other than plants. Microorganisms such as fungi, which take little space to grow, are ideal candidates. But scientists first must find fungi that produce larger amounts of oil.

In the study, scientists describe a process for converting oil from an abundant producer called Mucor circinelloides into biodiesel without even extracting oil from the growth cultures. The resulting fungus-based biodiesel meets commercial specifications in the United States and Europe and production could be scaled to commercial levels, they note.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Vicente et al. Direct Transformation of Fungal Biomass from Submerged Cultures into Biodiesel. Energy & Fuels, 2010; 24 (5): 3173 DOI: 10.1021/ef9015872

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Fungus among us could become non-food source for biodiesel production." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100609111318.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2010, September 17). Fungus among us could become non-food source for biodiesel production. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100609111318.htm
American Chemical Society. "Fungus among us could become non-food source for biodiesel production." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100609111318.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

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