Fomes fomentarius CIRM-BRFM 1821 v1.0
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Picture from Marie-Noƫlle Rosso, Biodiversity and Biotechnology of Fungi, INRA-Aix-Marseille University, France
Picture from Marie-Noëlle Rosso, Biodiversity and Biotechnology of Fungi, INRA-Aix-Marseille University, France

This genome was sequenced as part of the JGI CSP “Survey of the lignocellulolytic capabilities over the order Polyporales” project. Within Agaricomycotina, the order Polyporales is the major group of wood decayers in temperate and tropical forests. As such, Polyporales have a pivotal role in the global carbon cycle. Polyporales include a large number of white-rot filamentous fungi able to totally degrade lignin from wood through the production of extracellular lignin-degrading enzymes including laccases, lignin peroxidases and manganese peroxidases. Lignocellulose is a high potential renewable resource for the production of biofuels and chemicals, including high-value chemicals, from biomass. As a consequence, white-rot filamentous fungi have a high potential for biotechnological processes, particularly for lignocellulosic feedstock biorefinery applications.

Fomes fomentarius (Linn.) Fr., also called the tinder polypore, is a white-rot fungus from the taxonomic family of Polyporaceae. It has a wide distribution and has been reported in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. In continental Europe, F. fomentarius has been recorded on a wide range of hardwood trees: beech, birch, oak, poplar, maple, and more rarely alder and hornbeam, predominantly on weakened hosts that are over-mature or declining (F. Schwarze, Mycologist, 1994; F. Schwarze, Fungal Biology Reviews, 2007).

The fruiting body, shaped like a horse hoof, has been used by man since Prehistoric times. Ötzi, the 5,000-year-old iceman found in Ötztal Alps at the Austrian-Italian border carried pieces of F. fomentarius, probably used as tinder to light fires. Later on, lighters made of F. fomentarius tinder were used up to the First World War. F. fomentarius had symbolic and mystic functions in The Khanty (Siberia), Aynu (Japan) and Uyghur (Xinjiang) cultures. During the XVIII and XIXth centuries, the fungus was used to prepare haemostatic dressings and bandages to maintain the temperature or compress parts of the body. Other uses include the production of fishing articles, decorative items and clothes. Its fruiting body, called “Mudi” in Chinese, has been used as a Chinese medicine for many centuries for the treatment of oral ulcer, gastroenteric disorder, hepatocirrhosis, inflammation, and cancers (Roussel et al., Revue d’Histoire de la Pharmacie, 2002). Ongoing research studies aim at identifying the exopolysaccharides responsible for anti-tumoral activities. Other recent studies were devoted to optimizing fungal fermentation for the production of laccase or degradation of solid waste composts.

The genome sequencing of Fomes fomentarius will allow exploration for novel biocatalysts and medicinal molecules.