Issue Date: September 8, 2008
Fungus Degrades Lignin In Bug Guts
In the gut of a beetle lies a fungus that helps the insect digest lignin, researchers have found (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2008, 105, 12932). The discovery could lead to more efficient and milder ways to convert plants into biofuels. Lignin is a natural aromatic polymer that protects a plant's sugar-containing cellulose and hemicellulose from most microbial attacks. It also vexes biofuel researchers who want easy access to the sugars. Ming Tien of . . .
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