Bioconversion of Coal by Fungi

  • D. E. A. Catcheside
  • J. P. Ralph
Part of the The Mycota book series (MYCOTA, volume 10)


The microbiology of coal was investigated early in the twentieth century when it was shown that bacteria are found associated with coal (Schroeder 1914; Lipman 1937). More recently, Fakoussa (1981) showed that filamentous fungi, yeasts and bacteria could be isolated that grow on coal as their sole carbon source and that a strain of Pseudomonas fluorescens releases surfactants increasing the wetability of coal particles and was able to partially solubilise or emulsify bituminous coal. Cohen and Gabriele (1982) reported that mycelial mats of the wood rot fungi Trametes versicolor and Poria monticola are able to convert leonardite, a low-rank coal, quantitatively to a black fluid. These observations led to a flurry of activity investigating bioconversion of coal and contributed to a series of international symposia focused on bioconversion of fossil fuels. Some of the early symposia were published as proceedings (Yunker and Rhee 1990; Yunker 1991; Rehm et al. 1991). However, for most of the recent symposia, 1992 Clearwater Beach, 1993 Alghero, 1996 Madrid, 1997 Essen, the principal contributions were published as collections of papers, mostly on aspects of coal bioconversion, in readily accessible refereed journals, Olson and Yunker (1993), Rossi (1994), Cámara et al. (1997), Klein (1999), respectively. A collection of papers from the Seventh International Symposium held in Madrid, 1999, is to be published. Each collection since 1994 has summaries of the status of development in this field (Yunker et al. 1994; Klein et al. 1997, 1999). A major collection of reviews covering aspects of coal bioconversion is available in Crawford (1993), including chapters by Cohen and Gray, Crawford and Gupta, Faison and by Quigley. Other reviews include Olson and Brinckman (1986), Scott et al. (1986) Juntgen (1987), Klein et al. (1988), Wise (1990), Faison (1991a,b), Catcheside and Ralph (1999) and Fakoussa and Hofrichter (1999). In this review we have concentrated on publications available in refereed journals.


Brown Coal Bituminous Coal Manganese Peroxidase Biological Processing Microbial Transformation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. E. A. Catcheside
    • 1
  • J. P. Ralph
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Food and Wine ScienceRegency Institute of Technical and Further EducationRegency ParkAustralia

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