Plant Fungi and Bacteria Fuel Advances in Energy and Medicine

Plant pathologist Gary Strobel, from Montana State University, has traveled to all seven continents to collect samples of endophytes from remote places. Endophytes are fungi and bacteria that live within the living tissue of a plant. With support from the National Science Foundation, Strobel and his team have discovered that endophytes have the ability to make diesel-like fuel. It takes the team just a few weeks to create the fuel. Strobel says the long-term goal is to improve the process of using microbes that degrade plant material, especially agricultural waste, to make economically feasible quantities of hydrocarbons. Fungi and bacteria hold great potential for breakthroughs in medicine, plastics, and green chemistry as well.