Michelle O'Malley, a chemical engineer at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has isolated a fungus from the digestive tract of horses that she says could more easily break down plant cellulose into sugars used for ethanol production. "It's been known for a long time that the digestive tract of large herbivores have been good at turning crude cellulose into sugars," but most researchers have focused on bacteria rather than fungi, said O'Malley, who presented her findings at the American Chemical Society's convention in New Orleans.

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