Scientist Discovers Fungus That Could Fuel A Car 574076
A researcher at Montana State University has found a micro-organism in a plant in South America that
could fuel vehicles one day. The unusual fungus contains the essence of diesel, which one could use to run a bus, for example, without processing it at all.
Professor Gary Strobel discusses his findings on "myco-diesel," which are being published Wednesday in The Journal of Microbiology in London.
Dr. Strobel made the discovery by chance, while collecting fungus from the stem of a tree in an old forest in southern Chile. When he finally got around to sending it off for sophisticated analysis years later he discovered that this version of Gliocladium wasn't like others he'd encountered before.
"I've scoured the earth for not only organisms like Gliocladium, but many other endophytes [a plant that lives in the tissue of another plant]. I've been to almost every rainforest on the planet," he tells Alex Chadwick. But, "in over 50 years, I've never seen anything like that."
Why would a fungus create diesel? Essentially to protect from plant invaders, he says.
He also discusses a brief scandal in his past that involved chainsawing trees and trashing an EPA document.
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