Oil Doesn't Come From Dinos, It Comes From Fungus

Fungus make oil.

Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “magic mushrooms.” :wink:

Next time I go to Jiffy Lube, I’ll be sure to ask for a Fungus Change. :cool:

So there’s a great big humungous fungus among-us? :slight_smile:

I hope this works out–it could change the whole EROEI of cellulosic fuel production in the mid-latitudes. Unless the fungus only grows in the tropical rainforest, in which case the Brazilians will still beat the pants off everyone for bio-based fuel.

Wow. That’s very interesting. Could certainly solve a few problems.

I thought that they tell us that oil came from plant matter, not dinosaurs. It probably comes from both plants and fungus.

That’d be awesome; bug wash in the front, a few shovelfuls of manure in the back, make sure to park in a warm damp place…

I see some problems in winter up here though. :dubious:

The patagonia is not precisely tropical and is not in Brazil…

Fill 'er up with chanterels.

Knew I should have read the article. That’s even better news.

Better tell all those fungus haters in the pit about this.

I think they’d be more than happy to sacrifice all of their mushrooms to solve the energy crisis.

I doubt you could manufacture enough of it to meet the current demand in this country, let alone the world.

Dunno - it sounds pretty promising - particularly as it doesn’t have to compete with food production.

I think I can confidently predict that the fuel crisis will not be solved by a miracle fungus.

It seems like every few years there’s some amazing discovery in the rain forest along these lines, and then we never hear about it again. A while back it was some “gasoline tree” which supposedly produced a secretion that could power an engine without any refinement-- can’t remember where I read about that one.

If one were of a suspicious mind, one might begin to suspect that the oil companies are swooping in and buying everything up, and torching the rain forests to hide the evidence. Alternately, one might hypothesize that there aren’t any naturally occurring miracle oil plants in the first place, since the rain forests aren’t generally known for exploding when set on fire. I’d think that a fungus that secretes diesel or ethanol in any appreciable quantities would create a notably volatile environment after awhile, and sooner or later some anthropologist would think to investigate the native stories of “Smelly-land-that-goes-FOOM.”

Neat. I hope the research continues to go favorably.

We’re already using fungus and microbes quite successfully for bioremediation in cases of oil spills and other contaminants.

Mushroom love!

Neither will increased drilling the US, but that doesn’t stop people from jumping on that particular bandwagon. Unlike increased drilling, however, this, combined with other technologies offers us a diversity of energy sources, which is important if we’re going keep prices low.

Agreed, but it will certainly help towrads tht goal.

Close, but not quite right.

Note that the article is dated April of this year, and that it estimates that it will be at least 5 - 10 years before it will see large scale production (probably longer with energy prices dropping).

Unlikely in either of these cases as they were made by government run organizations, so much of the information must be made public and cannot be kept secret. If Big Oil were to attempt to keep a lock on it, they would not be able to do so for very long.

Didja notice that its a rather rare fungus? In a gawdforsaken part of the world? New species of animal and plant life are constantly being discovered, even in places like the US and England. Additionally, it presently produces these compounds in very small amounts. So you wouldn’t necessarily have it churning out an oil slick in a day. Of course, all the plants we use for food crops didn’t produce fruit/vegetables in the same shape they do today, when they were first discovered. Selective breeding (and genetic engineering in recent years) have caused them to take the form we use.

NSF story about the fungus. Apparently, the strain discovered makes rocket fuel! :cool:

Nah, this was some years back, and it was definitely a rain forest tree. The article made a big deal about how the plant could be cut open and a decent volume of fuel could be poured out directly. It was extremely goofy and implausible-sounding, and I’m pretty sure I read it in Discover or **New Scientist **or one of those nearly-science mags. Or it might have been one of the Rolex Award winners.

Which reminds me… Hey Rolex: Where’s my genetically engineered glow-in-the-dark Christmas tree? It’s been… what, 15, 20 years?! Bastards…

Well yeah, but this is supposed to be diesel fuel. It’s hugely energy-rich. It makes no sense for the fungus to be making it in any appreciable quantities if it’s not necessary for something. And other fungi seem to get along just fine without that mechanism. Ergo, it’s an unexpected molecular product that probably can’t be produced in excess for any significant commercial use. Hell, I produce methane *all the time. *And nobody considers me as a potential solution to the global energy crunch.

So… what time is it now? About 8:22 PM? Okay…

In the future, when the world is powered by miracle fungus gas, you have my total permission to remind me about this thread and laugh at me.

That doesn’t make much sense to me. Other examples of vertebrates get along fine without legs, but mine are not an unexpected product. It’s not impossible to imagine that this fungus makes oily stuff for some purpose beneficial to itself.

“Pretty sure?” You do know that Discover, at least, has the habit of running gag articles in their April issues, don’t you?

I imagine that they’re waiting for the market to consist of more than just you and the guy who invented it.

One could have the same thing about this plant, some several thousands of years ago. Now, however, it is one of the largest staple crops in the world. Additionally, our ability to sequence DNA and do genetic engineering means that we can take advantage of the genes which are responsible for the production of the hydrocarbons and splice them into different organisms.

Probably because you’d strenuously object to having a tube shoved up your ass for long periods of time. (Though, I should point out that people are looking at the bacteria in our guts for ways to do commerical production of methane, and many farms are using human and animal waste to generate methane.)

Will you be willing to admit you’re wrong if its not the fungus, but another organism, using genes from this fungus spliced into it? (And you’ll note that I specifically stated above that I didn’t think that this would be our sole source for energy.)

No, it’s not impossible to imagine… but what would the purpose be? Other fungi do fine in Patagonia. Why does this variety need to generate rocket fuel components? It seems like a lot of work, unless it’s a very small amount. Diesel is kind of a pain to make.

Your legs have a clear use, and lots of land animals have them. If they are not needed, as with a crawling or swimming lifestyle, they tend to go away. Some animals have very long legs, like giraffes. But trying to get a fungus to make enough fuel for your rocket is probably something like trying to build a skyscraper out of giraffes.