Hungry Fungi: White-Rot Fungi Eat All Components of the Wood They Decompose

White-rot fungi have an extraordinary ability to break down lignin, a very sturdy material in plant cell walls. To find out what products result when these fungi deconstruct lignin, researchers used synthetic compounds that mimic those produced by lignin breakdown, fed those compounds to the fungi, then tracked the compounds within fungal cells. They found that white-rot fungi uptake lignin deconstruction products and use them as a carbon source for food and building material.