BER launches Environmental System Science Program. Visit our new website under construction!

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Ant Symbionts May Provide New Approaches to Biofuels Synthesis
Published: April 27, 2009
Posted: May 18, 2009

Leaf-cutting ants are well-known agriculturalists, cultivating fungus gardens capable of efficiently breaking down lignocellulosic plant material and converting it to food for ant colonies. Cameron Currie, a University of Wisconsin microbiologist at the DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC), is studying the complex interactions between ants, their cultivated fungi, and the microbial communities that colonize their nests. A news commentary in the April 2nd issue of the journal Nature describes Currie's research and his collaborative effort with the DOE Joint Genome Institute to sequence microbial community genome fragments from ant colonies. The aim of this approach is to prospect for new lignocellulose-degrading enzymes that could be further developed for biofuels production. The idea is that the ants' long evolutionary history may help us in our attempts to break down plant biomass, says Currie.

Contact: Joseph Graber, SC-23.2, (301) 903-1239
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Genomic Analysis and Systems Biology
  • Research Area: DOE Bioenergy Research Centers (BRC)

Division: SC-33.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Mar 23, 2021
Molecular Connections from Plants to Fungi to Ants
Lipids transfer energy and serve as an inter-kingdom communication tool in leaf-cutter ants&rsqu [more...]

Mar 19, 2021
Microbes Use Ancient Metabolism to Cycle Phosphorus
Microbial cycling of phosphorus through reduction-oxidation reactions is older and more widespre [more...]

Feb 22, 2021
Warming Soil Means Stronger Microbe Networks
Soil warming leads to more complex, larger, and more connected networks of microbes in those soi [more...]

Jan 27, 2021
Labeling the Thale Cress Metabolites
New data pipeline identifies metabolites following heavy isotope labeling.

Analysis [more...]

Aug 31, 2020
Novel Bacterial Clade Reveals Origin of Form I Rubisco
Objectives

  • All plant biomass is sourced from the carbon-fixing enzyme Rub [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)