At NAU, Yanfen’s research group (pictured below) mainly focuses on the interaction of anaerobic fungi and methanogens in the process of fiber degradation and methane production in the rumen. More specifically, her research group has isolated and characterized more than 30 anaerobic fungus-methanogen co-cultures from the rumen and feces of different herbivores.
Yanfen’s group has sequenced the genome, transcriptome and proteome of the anaerobic fungus Pecoramyces sp. F1 grown in the presence/absence of the methanogen Methanobrevibacter sp. This research revealed significant stimulation of metabolism in the hydrogenosome of the fungus, and significantly higher fiber-degrading enzyme expression by the co-culture compared to the fungal culture alone (see further details in the associated publication here).
Yanfen Cheng’s research group pictured above includes (from left to right) Yuqi Li, Qicheng Shi, Zhenxiang Meng, Prof Yanfen Cheng, Tianhan Xue and Yuping Ma.