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
"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