Enabling community-based metrology for wood-degrading fungi

Rolando Perez, Marina Luccioni, Rohinton Kamakaka, Samuel Clamons, Nathaniel Gaut, Finn Stirling, Katarzyna P. Adamala, Pamela A. Silver, Drew Endy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Lignocellulosic biomass could support a greatly-expanded bioeconomy. Current strategies for using biomass typically rely on single-cell organisms and extensive ancillary equipment to produce precursors for downstream manufacturing processes. Alternative forms of bioproduction based on solid-state fermentation and wood-degrading fungi could enable more direct means of manufacture. However, basic methods for cultivating wood-degrading fungi are often ad hoc and not readily reproducible. Here, we developed standard reference strains, substrates, measurements, and methods sufficient to begin to enable reliable reuse of mycological materials and products in simple laboratory settings. Results: We show that a widely-available and globally-regularized consumer product (Pringles™) can support the growth of wood-degrading fungi, and that growth on Pringles™-broth can be correlated with growth on media made from a fully-traceable and compositionally characterized substrate (National Institute of Standards and Technology Reference Material 8492 Eastern Cottonwood Whole Biomass Feedstock). We also establish a Relative Extension Unit (REU) framework that is designed to reduce variation in quantification of radial growth measurements. So enabled, we demonstrate that five laboratories were able to compare measurements of wood-fungus performance via a simple radial extension growth rate assay, and that our REU-based approach reduced variation in reported measurements by up to ~ 75%. Conclusions: Reliable reuse of materials, measures, and methods is necessary to enable distributed bioproduction processes that can be adopted at all scales, from local to industrial. Our community-based measurement methods incentivize practitioners to coordinate the reuse of standard materials, methods, strains, and to share information supporting work with wood-degrading fungi.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2
JournalFungal Biology and Biotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 19 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Work supported by Stanford University unrestricted funds (D.E.); a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (R.P.); the Stanford Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education–Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Doctoral Fellowship Program (R.P.); the National Institute of Standards and Technology Joint Initiative for Metrology in Biology (D.E.); the Department of Systems Biology (F.S. and P.S.); the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering (F.S. and P.S.); the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies (U.S. A.R.O. Grant # W911NF-19-D-0001).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).


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