Growing a circular economy with fungal biotechnology: a white paper
Vera Meyer, Evelina Y. Basenko, J. Philipp Benz, Gerhard H. Braus, Mark X. Caddick, Michael Csukai, Ronald P. de Vries, Drew Endy, Jens C. Frisvad, Nina Gunde‑Cimerman, Thomas Haarmann, Yitzhak Hadar, Kim Hansen, Robert I. Johnson, Nancy P. Keller, Nada Kraševec, Ufe H. Mortensen, Rolando Perez, Arthur F. J. Ram, Eric Record, Phil Ross, Volha Shapaval, Charlotte Steiniger, Hans van den Brink, Jolanda van Munster, Oded Yarden and Han A. B. Wösten
Fungi have the ability to transform organic materials into a rich and diverse set of useful products and provide distinct opportunities for tackling the urgent challenges before all humans. Fungal biotechnology can advance the transition from our petroleum-based economy into a bio-based circular economy and has the ability to sustainably produce resilient sources of food, feed, chemicals, fuels, textiles, and materials for construction, automotive and transportation industries, for furniture and beyond. Fungal biotechnology offers solutions for securing, stabilizing and enhancing the food supply for a growing human population, while simultaneously lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Fungal biotechnology has, thus, the potential to make a significant contribution to climate change mitigation and meeting the United Nation’s sustainable development goals through the rational improvement of new and established fungal cell factories. The White Paper presented here is the result of the 2nd Think Tank meeting held by the EUROFUNG consortium in Berlin in October 2019. This paper highlights discussions on current opportunities and research challenges in fungal biotechnology and aims to inform scientists, educators, the general public, industrial stakeholders and policymakers about the current fungal biotech revolution.