A comprehensive review on anaerobic fungi applications in biofuels production

Hamed Kazemi Shariat Panahi, Mona Dehhaghi, Gilles J. Guillemin, Vijai Kumar Gupta, Su Shiung Lam*, Mortaza Aghbashlo*, Meisam Tabatabaei*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Anaerobic fungi (Neocallimastigomycota) are promising lignocellulose-degrading microorganisms that can be exploited by the biofuel industry. While natural production of ethanol by these microorganisms is very low, there is a greater potential for their use in the biogas industry. More specifically, anaerobic fungi can contribute to biogas production by either releasing holocellulose or reducing sugars from lignocelluloses that can be used as a substrate by bacteria and methanogens involved in the anaerobic digestion (AD) process or by metabolizing acetate and formate that can be directly consumed by methanogens. Despite their great potential, the appropriate tools for engineering anaerobic fungi have not been established yet. The first section of this review justifies how the biofuel industry can benefit from using anaerobic fungi and is followed by their taxonomy. In the third section, the possibility of using anaerobic fungi for the consolidated production of bioethanol is briefly discussed. Nevertheless, the main focus of this review is on the upstream and mainstream effects of bioaugmentation with anaerobic fungi on the AD process. The present review also scrutinizes the constraints on the way of efficient engineering of anaerobic rumen fungi. By providing this knowledge, this review aims to help research in this field with identifying the challenges that must be addressed by future experiments to achieve the full potentials of these promising microorganisms. To sum up, the pretreatment of lignocelluloses by anaerobic fungi can prevent carbohydrate loss due to respiration (compared to white-rot fungi). Following fungal mixed acid fermentation, the obtained slurry containing sugars and more susceptible holocellulose can be directly consumed by AD microorganisms (bacteria, methanogens). The bioaugmentation of anaerobic fungi into the AD process can increase methane biosynthesis by >3.3 times. Despite this, for the commercial AD process, novel genetic engineering techniques and kits must be developed to efficiently improve anaerobic fungi viability throughout the AD process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number154521
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date13 Mar 2022
Publication statusPrint publication - 10 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Anaerobic rumen fungi
  • Bioaugmentation
  • Bioethanol
  • Biogas
  • Neocallimastigomycota


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