Increased Fungal Biomass for Bio Ethanol Production

The Invention Dr. Amir Sharon and his team from Tel Aviv University have developed a transformation-based approach through which fungi can be modified to be less sensitive to external conditions and environmental stresses, have increased sustainability in culture during fermentation, and have both enhanced growth rate and spore production. As a result, the fungal cultures exhibit a dramatic increase in fresh and dry biomass production, reduced sensitivity to stress conditions, enhanced spore production and extended viability. This has been recently demonstrated in transgenic Aspergillus niger isolates. This technology is generic and can be further applied to other industrial fungi. The Need The current rise in oil prices driven by the shortening amount of fossil oil accelerated the development of alternative fuels including bio-fuels. Bio-Fuels are primarily ethanol that can be produced from crop plants such as corn and soybeans through fungal fermentation. Many efforts are directed towards strain improvement, attempting to modify enzyme activity, substrate specificities etc. Another rate limiting factor is biomass production and sustainability of the fungus in the bioreactor, which limit production rates and life span of the culture in bioreactors. Enhancement of fungal growth rate and extenuation of the vegetative growth phase in fermentors have great potential of increasing yields in various industrial applications that use fungi, especially in the case of bio-fuels where productivity is closely correlated with biomass. Advantages The described effects of the novel technology hold enormous potential for improved utilization of fungi in solid and liquid fermentation and for biological control applications. Applications extend far beyond biomass production and include any process that utilizes fungal material, fungal metabolites and proteins, or biotechnological processes in which fungi are used for production of heterologous proteins. Patent filed

Inventor(s): Amir Sharon

Type of Offer: Licensing

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