EPA Proposes New Use Requirements for Fungus

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a significant new use rule for the fungus Tirchoderma reesei, which is used in the production of ethanol.
     When grown in isolated cultures to produce enzymes that breakdown plants in the ethanol production process, where it is deactivated before being disposed of, Tirchoderma reesei does not present an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment, the EPA says.
     However, when allowed to grow on solid plant material or water insoluble substrate, it can produce a neurotoxic byproduct known as paracelsin.
     The EPA, therefore, wants to require manufacturers and suppliers to provide 90 days notice before introducing the fungus into new uses.
     The public has until July 13 to comment on the proposed rule.
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