This page features details of just some of the anaerobic fungi related research projects that are currently ongoing worldwide.

Anaerobic Fungal Enzymes in Silages:  The aim of this project is to improve the quality and ruminal degradability of silages (especially those with high lignocellulosic content substrates) by using anaerobic fungal enzymes as silage additives. This collaborative project involves Thomas Hartinger (University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna) and Katerina Fliegerova (Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics CAS), and is funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism.

Establishing Functional Genomics in Anaerobic Fungi for Applications in Agriculture, Sustainability, and Carbon Cycling: This project is aimed at developing novel genetic tools for the anaerobic fungi using testbed strains with sequenced genomes. The project is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation through a Collaborative Research: EDGE FGT grant. Researchers leading the project are Michelle O’Malley (PI) from the University of California Santa Barbara and Kevin Solomon (coPI) from the University of Delaware.

DACH-HiPoAF Project: A collaborative team of scientists from Austria, Germany and Switzerland are working closely together combining microbiology, biotechnology and bioinformatics to investigate potential benefits deriving from the biotechnological application of anaerobic fungi. Please visit the HiPoAF project website to find out more.

Genetic Tools to Optimize Lignocellulose Conversion in Anaerobic Fungi and Interrogate Their Genome:  This project will develop a genetic toolbox and epigenetic tools for anaerobic fungi. Specifically, chromosomally-resolved genomes will be collected and analyzed in order to enable development of anaerobic fungal plasmids and tools for genome manipulation. In parallel, epigenetic strategies for controlling anaerobic fungal phenotypes will also be investigated. This research project at the University of Delaware is led by Kevin Solomon (PI) and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Division of Biological and Environmental Research (BER).

Separating Fibre From Feed – the Role of Gut Fungi in Ruminant Digestion: The aim of this project is to investigate the molecular effects of rumen anaerobic fungi activity on animal feed during its digestion. In vitro cultivations of anaerobic fungi with animal feeds will be followed over time, and changes to the retrieved plant material analysed using a combination of analytical techniques. This project is led by Jolanda van Munster at Scotland’s Rural College and is funded by the Royal Society.

Fibre Degrading Enzymes: This project is focussed on the investigation of fiber degrading enzymes in anaerobic fungal genomes. The research involves the cloning and expression of the enzymes (in bacterial or yeast cells) and study of their function, especially their attachment to substrates. This project is led by Yanfen Cheng at Nanjing Agricultural University and is funded by a grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Engineering Synthetic Anaerobic Consortia Inspired by the Rumen for Biomass Breakdown and Conversion: This project is leveraging high-throughput screening, metabolic modeling, and machine learning to optimize the formation of anaerobic microbial communities that produce medium-chain fatty acids directly from lignocellulose. The research is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and involves: Michelle O’Malley (PI) at the University of California Santa Barbara; Christopher Lawson (coPI) at the University of Toronto;  Scott Baker (coPI) at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Tracking Lignocellulosic Breakdown by Anaerobic Fungi and Fungal Cellulosomes:  The objective of this project is to develop new imaging probes for anaerobic fungi and their multi-enzyme cellulosomes. Specifically, it will enable in vivo, real-time imaging of anaerobic fungal enzymes in action on lignocellulosic substrates. The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Division of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) and involves Michelle O’Malley (University of California Santa Barbara) along with Scott Baker and James Evans (Pacific Northwest National Laboratories).

Joint Bioenergy Institute (JBEI):  The JBEI is a U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Center (BRC), that is working to develop new strategies for lignocellulosic depolymerization and the production of value-added products. Part of the JBEI research portfolio focuses on characterizing the lignin-degrading capabilities of several strains of anaerobic fungi. To find out more about JBEI please just visit their website here.

1000 Fungal Genomes Project: This project aims to sequence 1000 genomes representative of the whole fungal kingdom, with several anaerobic fungal genomes already available. More details and the current status of the project can be viewed here.