Many of our posts about mangrove fungi we’ve found on mangrove leaves have been centered on identifying the species causing the lesions we find on leaves (see here and here). We are also interested in understanding whether this fungus has potential for biotechnology applications.
Many fungi and bacteria are being studied for their ability to breakdown complex waste products. For example, researchers at NC State have been studying different bacteria that are able to breakdown the waste products from pulp mills (see here). We are collaborating with Dr. Stephanie Matthews and others to see if the fungus we find on mangrove leaves may be useful in breaking down similar waste products. We have started mini trials, and it looks like we are having some success with the fungus Pestalotiopsis (see featured images) growing on media with low concentrations of cellulose and lignin, two compounds that are often difficult to break down. In order to really understand if this fungus could be used in biotechnology applications, we will need to test whether Pestalotiopsis can grow on medium with higher concentrations of cellulose and lignin. We will keep you posted with our findings as we complete more tests!