We work on a variety of questions involving plant/pathogen interactions, the biosynthesis of natural products, and enzymes for bioenergy applications. The common theme is the Kingdom Mycota, also known as the Fungi.
Fungi are the pre-eminent recyclers in terrestrial ecosystems.
They secrete an immense variety of degradative enzymes capable of converting all known biological polymers, including lignin and cellulose, to metabolizable compounds such as sugars. Fungal enzymes have many uses in food processing, industry, and biomass conversion. The use of fungal enzymes to convert lignocelluosic materials to fermentable sugars for production of "second generation" biofuels is an active area of research in our lab. Our research is supported by the DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. For more information see Enzymes for Bioenergy.
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Past research areas in the Walton lab include herbicide safeners, plant cell wall biosynthesis, and the role of cell wall degrading enzymes in plant pathogenesis. See the appropriate sections under Research for more information.