Among the increasingly valuable roles fungi are playing in the biotechnology industry is their ability to produce enzymes capable of releasing sugars from plants, trees, and other forms of complex biomass, which can then be converted to biofuels and biobased chemicals. Advances in fungal biology and in bioengineering fungal systems industrial applications are explored in a series of articles in Industrial Biotechnology, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The articles are available on the Industrial Biotechnology website.
Guest Editors Scott Baker, PhD, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL, Richland, WA), Antoine Margeot, PhD, IFP Energies nouvelles (Rueil-Malmaison Cedex, France), and Adrian Tsang, PhD (Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada), collaborated on the IB IN DEPTH—Special Section on Fungal Biology in Industrial Biotechnology.
In the Overview "Fungi and Industrial Biotechnology – A Special Issue for an Amazing Kingdom," Dr. Baker says, "For more than a century fungi have had an enormous footprint in industrial biotechnology, from the first US biotechnology patent to current research in biofuels and renewable chemicals."
The Special Section includes Review articles by Kevin McCluskey, PhD, Curator of the Fungal Genetics Stock Center at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, entitled "Biological Resource Centers Provide Data and Characterized Living Material for Industrial Biotechnology," and by Justin Powlowski, PhD's group at the Centre for Structural and Functional Genomics, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Etienne Jourdier, PhD, and colleagues present a "Comprehensive Study and Modeling of Acetic Acid Effect on Trichoderma reesei Growth." Contributing the research study "In-Stream Itaconic Acid Recovery from Aspergillus terreus Fedbatch Fermentation" is a research team from TNO Microbiology & Systems Biology, Zeist, the Netherlands, let by Professor Peter Punt.
Included in the Fungal Biology Special Section is an IB Interview with Blake Simmons, PhD, Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI, Emeryville, CA) and Sandia National Laboratories (Livermore, CA), and Jon Magnuson, PhD, JBEI and PNNL. John Nicksich, Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (PNNL, Richland, WA), describes the cutting-edge technology used to explore and bioengineer fungi in the Catalyzing Innovation article "EMSL Capabilities and Expertise: Pushing the Frontiers of Bioengineering."
"Scientific and technological advances in the life sciences are providing exciting new ways to engage old and familiar microbial friends in a number of novel and innovative industrial biotechnology activities," says Larry Walker, PhD, Co-Editor-in-Chief and Professor, Biological & Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.