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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Jarey recommends that Mushrooms May Hold Key to Energy Crisis!

Forget Corn: Mushrooms May Hold Key to Energy Crisis!

As unlikely as it may sound, a solution to the world's energy problems may lie in a Chinese mushroom. A Danish company's scientists in China, Brazil, Denmark and the U.S. are testing mushrooms and lichen to find one that will turn corn cobs and sugarcane stalks into biofuel. Earlier this year, record-high prices for corn and wheat undermined government support for biofuel, which depends on subsidies, and caused shares of enzyme makers to drop.

The U.S. has diverted a large portion of it's annual corn crop to the manufacture of bio-fuel. An affordable alternative to gasoline made from plant waste would end concerns that global hunger for energy is driving up food prices worldwide, resulting in a great deal of hunger for those living on the economic fringes, as well as rising food store prices for everyone.

Fungi like mushrooms and lichen make enzymes to eat rotting logs and decaying leaves. Biofuel producers use the proteins to break down the complex carbohydrates in plant cells into a soup-like mixture of simple sugars that yeast can eat. In a process much like making beer, yeast ferments the mixture, producing ethanol. Enzymes now on the market can't break down the tougher parts of plants effectively enough to be affordable.

The search for enzymes is daunting because of the sheer number of fungi. Researchers have amassed 480,264 different kinds and say as many as 1.5 million species may exist. Each specializes in feeding at specific points in the cycle of decay, and can have anywhere from two to 100 different enzymes. Some fungi grow worldwide, while factors such as temperature, soil type and altitude limit others.

The foregoing information was edited from a article.

And some of the mushrooms are really quite beautiful as well! Smile For example look at this one!

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