Seed Set in Prairie Cordgrass

Arvid Boe, Vance Owens, Jose Gonzalez-Hernandez, D. K. Lee
2013 Crop science  
EBIBULLETIN Energy Biosciences Institute No less than seven EBI programs and projects have enlisted the filamentous fungus to assist them in their studies. For 80 years an ultimate tool for biologists in functional genomics, recombination, DNA repair, differentiation, morphogenesis and cell biology, N. crassa is now looked upon as a potential game-changer for bioenergy. "We now represent one of the largest communities in academia that works on filamentous fungi for bioenergy applications, "
more » ... UC Berkeley microbiologist N. Louise Glass, who was among the first in the EBI to take on the ubiquitous fungus as a possible source of enzymatic deconstruction of biofuel feedstocks. "It has gained respect as a model for understanding the mechanisms of plant cell wall degradation, regulation and secretion. " She credits the insights of her microbial biology colleagues at Berkeley, John Taylor and Tom Bruns, for suggesting the potential value of N. crassa in EBI's work. When the institute was soliciting project proposals in its first year, the three researchers noted that the fungus' appetite for burned-out grasses and trees in nature might yield clues into how organisms digest plant material. Thus was born the first project of Taylor, Bruns and Glass: "Fungi and Deconstruction of Lignin and Other Components of Miscanthus Cell Walls. " Since then, the fungus has become so much more for dozens of EBI scientists in Berkeley and Illinois. "It allows us to address questions relatively quickly rather than having to develop a new system, " Glass says. "Its most important component is the ease of genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology with N. crassa, plus having a publicly available whole genome deletion strain set to screen for novel regulatory proteins, enzyme functions and metabolites. " The complete genome sequence of N. crassa was published in 2003, and that treasure trove of data, combined with its fast growth rate, ease of culture and simple nutritional requirements made it an ideal laboratory tool for study, mutation and manipulation.
doi:10.2135/cropsci2012.04.0250 fatcat:szrbjysivve4dggzwulsmwydwe