Washington, Nov 4 : Scientists have found a fungus that produces a new type of fuel, which they call 'myco-diesel.'
Gary Strobel, Montana State University professor of plant sciences and plant pathology, said that the discovery might offer an alternative to fossil fuels.
Strobel found the diesel-producing fungus in a Patagonia rainforest. He visited the rainforest in 2002 and collected a variety of specimens, including the branches from an ancient family of trees known as "ulmo."
When Strobel and his research team examined the branches, they found fungus growing inside.
They continued to investigate and discovered that the fungus, called "Gliocladium roseum," was producing gases.
Further testing showed that the fungus-under limited oxygen-was producing a number of compounds normally associated with diesel fuel, which is obtained from crude oil.
"These are the first organisms that have been found that make many of the ingredients of diesel. This is a major discovery," Strobel said.
The study is published in the November issue of Microbiology.