Fungal Biotechnology: Unlocking the Full Potential of Fungi for a More Sustainable World

Lene Lange*, Jane Wittrup Agger, Anne S. Meyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


In the future bio-based society, leaving the fossil-based era, a wide range of challenges will have to be solved by new biological solutions. Among the core technologies for this transformation are fungal (and bacterial) production of proteins, metabolites and chemicals and biological processing (using microbial enzymes, substituting for chemical processing). Currently, new biorefinery technologies are being developed, aimed at converting crop residues and industrial sidestreams and waste streams to higher-value products. The new biorefinery development started with conversion of wheat straw and corn stover to biofuel. Over the last 5–10 years, it has expanded rapidly into cascading biomass-conversion processes, unlocking the full potential of the biomass and producing high-value products, such as food and feed ingredients as well as specialty chemicals and materials. Fungi have taken centre-stage in this development. In this chapter, we provide a comprehensive overview of what comes next, depicting in which areas fungi, fungal enzymes and fungal metabolites can contribute significantly to addressing global challenges, first and foremost related to mitigating climate change and providing sufficient food for a rapidly growing global population. However, fungi can do much more! The chapter reviews a broad spectrum of such opportunities for creation of societal and environmental value: opening paths towards improved health for humans and animals, discovery of new drug candidates and reducing risk of developing lifestyle diseases and antibiotic resistance and substituting agricultural pesticides with biologicals. For all the areas reviewed where fungi can be of major importance for contributing to a more sustainable world, we pinpoint where new biotechnology challenges have to be overcome to unlock the opportunities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGrand Challenges in Fungal Biotechnology
EditorsHelena Nevalainen
Number of pages30
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-29540-0
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-29541-7
Publication statusPublished - 2020
SeriesGrand Challenges in Biology and Biotechnology


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