Engine experts and biofuels researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are working on a project that aims to modify a fungus so that it will produce fuel-type hydrocarbons for internal combustion engines. The biofuels being investigated for the project are produced by a class of fungi — endophytes — that live between plant cell walls.The beauty of the endophytic fungi, Sandia biochemist Masood Hadi said, is that there is no need for the cost-intensive industrial processes that are typically required to break down biomass. These fungi are designed by nature to grow on cellulose and to digest it, forming fuel-type hydrocarbons as a by-product of their metabolic processes.
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(Image by Dino Vournas)