2014 Student Research Conference:
27th Annual Student Research Conference

Environmental Screening and Molecular Analysis of Cellulase Producing Fungi
Dianna S. Long* and Yannik E. Roell
Dr. Carolina Sempertegui-Sosa, Faculty Mentor

Microorganisms, such as Trichoderma reesei and Fusarium oxysporum, which produce the enzyme cellulase are crucial to the decomposition of plant material. Through environmental screening of compost and manure piles at the University Farm, we cultured for cellulase producing fungi. Samples collected from each pile were diluted and inoculated onto Yeast Nitrogen Base media with 10% V8 juice and 2.0% carboxymethyl cellulose as the sole sources of carbohydrates. This medium limited growth to the most resilient microorganisms that use semi-auxotrophic nutrients and cellulose to sustain life. Top producers were indicated by a semi-quantitative growth medium designed for this experiment. Classic taxonomic procedures were used to identify the top three producers. For the top three fungi we will compare the genetic differences between cellulase producing fungi using DNA and protein sequencing and protein structure analysis. Identifying proficient cellulase producers brings us one step closer to efficiently breaking down cellulose into useful components.

Keywords: environmental screening, growth media, cellulase semi-quantification, classic taxonomy, molecular analysis

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 404-2
Location: MG 1098
Time: 2:45

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