White Rot Fungi (WRF) are the only organisms known to degrade significant amounts of lignin, a fibrous structural material in plants that consists of complex cross-links of phenylpropene units. Lignin is the second-most abundant renewable carbon source on the planet after cellulose, but very difficult to break down in a productive manner. Harnessing the ability of the WRF to produce ligninase enzymes could revolutionize the biofuel industry, among others. Lignin has potential for use in development of smart polymers, adhesives, surfactants, and many more bioproducts.
There is currently not a lot of material in the literature describing the genetics or proteomics (the study of proteins) of WRF, despite the fact that they have long been recognized as extremely useful microorganisms in areas like bioremediation and enzyme production. Working with these organisms has been complicated by the fact that they are filamentous fungi and have a tendency to grow in agglomerates that attach to parts of the fermentation vessel, which have an inhibiting effect on enzyme production. That's why the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has initiated a project to use the proteomics of WRF to study a link between media glucose concentrations and morphology (physical appearance), and determine which genes are involved in the characteristic growth patterns of this fungi.
Read more about lignin at this fascinating site by the International Lignin Institute.