A group of fungi in Oregon's forests evolved to digest wood, offering promise for biofuels and even to clean up environmental contamination.
Scientists may be able to harvest enzymes or perhaps create better ones to break down lignin. In the rapidly evolving biofuels industry, more efficient techniques to remove lignin from cellulose could be a big advance.
Likewise, white rot's abilities could help decompose environmental contamination. Using living organisms, "bioremediation" has been used to clean up pollution. Because white rot can decompose molecules that other fungi can't, it may be an important enzyme source to break down other environmental contaminants besides lignin.
Read more at OregonLive.com.