Developing a Synthetic Biology Platform to Produce High-Value Chemicals in Mushrooms
Mushroom-forming fungi produce high-value chemicals that show strong bioactivities and are used as antibiotics and agrochemicals.
Examples of well-known fungal specialised metabolites include pleuromutilin antibiotics and strobilurin-derived fungicides, which have an annual global market of USD 3.4 billion.
In recent years, the sequencing of fungal genomes has revealed that fungi have the potential to make many more specialised metabolites than those presently known.
What's more, white- and brown-rot fungi produce a wealth of useful lignocellulose-degrading enzymes that have not yet been fully characterised.
Through his Fellowship, Dr Fabrizio Alberti from the School of Life Sciences will develop a platform to produce high-value chemicals in mushroom-forming fungi.
Many fungi produce a wealth of useful lignocellulose-degrading enzymes that have not yet been fully characterised.
Examples of specialised metabolites and useful enzymes made by mushroom-forming fungi.
Dr Alberti and his team will use a combination of genomics, transcriptomics and metabolomics to develop a synthetic biology toolkit suitable for use in mushroom-forming fungi.
The toolkit will then be employed to discover specialised metabolites and enzymes. Industrial collaborations will be developed to apply the toolkit for the discovery and mass production of high-value chemicals.
This research programme will support novel use of fungi in the production, discovery, and study of high-value chemicals, including terpenoid-derived antimicrobials, as well as valuable biocatalysts, such as lignocellulose-degrading enzymes.