Wood Degrader

NAME: Phanerochaete chrysosporium

IMAGE SIZE: 40 microns

IMAGE CREDITS: Fred Michel, Ohio State University - Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Click image to download large 640 x 480 JPEG image (approximate download times: 28.8 k = 40 sec; T1 = 11 sec.)


Phanerochaete chrysosporium is a fungus that degrades wood. Because this microbe looks like white chalk on rotting wood, it is called a white rot fungus.


When we eat crab, we break off the outer shell to get at the tasty meat inside. When Phanerochaete eats wood, it breaks down the lignin to get at the tasty (at least to this fungus) cellulose and hemicellulose.

This fungus can break down lignin, the complex molecule which gives wood its strength.

This fungus then eats the other parts of wood: cellulose and hemicellulose which give the fungus energy to grow.



scanning electron microscope - an electron microscope that bounces electron off a sample to create a 3-D image.


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 © 1999 Comm Tech Lab, Michigan State University. This work was created with support from the National Science Foundation and the Center for Microbial Ecology at Michigan State University. Current maintenance is supported by the International Society for Microbial Ecology and the Comm Tech Lab. The Microbe of the Month is sponsored by the International Society for Microbial Ecology.

This page last updated 9/16/99