PNNL researchers study plant material that offers clues for making sustainable bioproducts

August 1, 2021 |

In Washington, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers are forming a clearer picture of how plant matter is transformed in the microbial gardens the ants create. This detailed understanding of how fungus degrades biomass could one day help scientists develop microbial systems for sustainable bioproduct production, such as biofuels or renewable chemicals.

In the latest of three studies of these softball-sized garden ecosystems, Burnum-Johnson’s research team focused on lipids that are present in the leaf-cutter ants’ cultivated fungus—called Leucoagaricus gongylophorus. The work stems from Burnum-Johnson’s selection to receive a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 2019 Early Career Research Program award in which she embarked on exploring how leaf-cutter ants take advantage of such microbial communities by maintaining fungal gardens that release useful metabolites from plant biomass.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Research

Thank you for visting the Digest.