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Prospects for Bioprocess Development Based on Recent Genome Advances in Lignocellulose Degrading Basidiomycetes

Chapter
Part of the Fungal Biology book series (FUNGBIO)

Abstract

The unique degradative activities of wood decay fungi, together with the rapid increase in genome data, offer unparalleled opportunities for biotechnological exploitation. Enzymatic conversion of pretreated woody material to high value products is of particular interest for biofuels production. A diverse array of extracellular peroxidases have been identified and these have considerable promise for the oxidation of the recalcitrant cell wall polymer, lignin. These enzymes, together with an array of intracellular oxidoreductases, are also able to transform various xenobiotics. These ligninolytic fungi also feature large numbers of genes encoding structurally diverse hydrolases and these too have considerable potential for the conversion of cellulose and hemicellulose to high value products. Certain wood decay fungi, collectively referred to as brown rot fungi, do not appreciably remove lignin and employ small molecular weight oxidants to rapidly depolymerize cellulose in the absence of hydrolases. Although rapid and efficient, it remains to be seen whether such non-enzymatic processes could be effectively harnessed for conversion of ‘cellulosics’. A complete understanding of lignocellulose degradation has been hampered by limited experimental tools and by the enormous number of genes encoding proteins of unknown function. Based on transcriptome and proteome studies, many of these ‘hypothetical’ proteins likely play an important, but poorly understood, role in lignocellulose degradation, Addressing this longstanding problem, new approaches for genetic transformation offer opportunities to establish the function of genes. Together with a growing number of metagenome investigations, current and future research will surely identify novel and potentially useful enzymes for bioprocess development.

Keywords

Lignin White rot Brown rot Lignocellulose Peroxidases 

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Riken Biomass Engineering GroupYokohamaJapan
  2. 2.USDA Forest Products LaboratoryMadisonUSA

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