The continuous use of fossil fuels reflects in global warming and generates worries regarding its availability. Bioethanol appears as an attractive option of renewable and cleaner energy source. The increase in Brazilian bioethanol production may come from sugar cane bagasse, which is sustainable and suitable to be converted into biofuels. The cristallinity of the plant cell wall can be circumvented with physical or chemical pre treatments, together with the use of enzyme mixtures. The development of these mixtures is the main bottleneck in conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into ethanol due to its high cost. In nature, some microorganism efficiently degrades plant biomass, as the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa. The objective of this pos-doctoral research is to characterize the gene expression of N. crassa, in response to its growth in medium containing sugar cane bagasse. The secretome of this fungus will be analyzed by proteomic, qRT-PCR and biochemical techniques, in the attempt to understand the mechanisms utilized by N. crassa in the degradation of sugar cane bagasse. Furthermore, this research may help the development of more efficient enzyme mixtures that can lead Brazil in an outstanding position not only in relation to the production of second generation biofuels, but also in basic scientific research on this strategic subject.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: