Exploring fungal extremophiles in South East Asian biodiversity as the key for sustainable agriculture and industry
Developing countries are heavily affected by the escalating consequences of climate change. Efforts to reduce poverty, mitigate climate change and develop new sustainable methods to utilize renewable resources are greatly needed. In this project, we address the sustainable use of biomass resources, by identifying and developing microorganisms and enzymes that will be the main catalysts in valorization of abundant agroindustrial (cassava streams) and forestry (acacia bark) residues. We will explore the biodiversity in South East Asia to identify unique microorganisms and enzymes to enable the valorization. Samples will be collected from selected and isolated from ecological niches. Novel fungal species able to rapidly degrade the residues will be identified. We will in detail follow and characterize (using omics techniques) the degradation process to identify which enzymes are produced and active. A detailed characterization of key underexplored enzymes in biomass degradation (e.g. phenolic de-glycosylases, oxidases and LPMOs) will follow. Enzymes with unique properties (i.e. ability to act at low pH and at high temperature) will be targeted. Knowledge regarding the factors that convey acidotolerance in enzymes and microorganisms will be established. The project will accelerate capacity building among researchers in South East Asia, and transfer knowledge to benefit industries and society regarding the potential of using enzymes and filamentous fungi in valorization.
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- Swedish Research Council (VR) (Public, Sweden)