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Fungal secretomes—nature’s toolbox for white biotechnology


Adapting their metabolism to varying carbon and nitrogen sources, saprophytic fungi produce an arsenal of extracellular enzymes, the secretome, which allows for an efficient degradation of lignocelluloses and further biopolymers. Based on fundamental advances in electrophoretic, chromatographic, and mass spectrometric techniques on the one hand and the availability of annotated fungal genomes and sophisticated bioinformatic software tools on the other hand, a detailed analysis of fungal secretomes has become feasible. While a number of reports on ascomycetous secretomes of, e.g., Aspergillus, Trichoderma, and Fusarium species are already available, studies on basidiomycetes have been mainly focused on the two model organisms Phanerochaete chrysosporium and Coprinopsis cinerea so far. Though an impressive number and diversity of fungal biocatalysts has been revealed by secretome analyses, the identity and function of many extracellular proteins still remains to be elucidated. A comprehensive understanding of the qualitative and quantitative composition of fungal secretomes, together with their synergistic actions and kinetic expression profiles, will allow for the development of optimized enzyme cocktails for white biotechnology.

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Financial support of the project “Fungal secretomes for the efficient degradation of lignocelluloses” (AZ 13199-32) by the “Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, DBU” is gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Holger Zorn.

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Bouws, H., Wattenberg, A. & Zorn, H. Fungal secretomes—nature’s toolbox for white biotechnology. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 80, 381 (2008).

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  • Ascomycetes
  • Basidiomycetes
  • 2-D electrophoresis
  • Tandem-mass spectrometry