In Brazil, Agência FAPESP reports researchers at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil have found an enzyme from the Amazon fungus Trichoderma harzianum to be capable of breaking down biomass. Fungi of the genus Trichoderma are present in most soil types and are the most prevalent culturable fungi. The researchers characterized the enzyme, and used genetic engineering techniques to mass produce it at low cost and make its industrial use viable.
The discovery is reported in an article published in the journal Scientific Reports. It will contribute to wider use of sugarcane waste to produce biofuels, as the development of a low-cost enzyme cocktail is one of the main challenges in the production of second-generation ethanol (derived from cane bagasse and trash).