Panda poo research: Building on the Ig-winning work?

Newly announced American research on panda feces seems to echo the research (this and this) that garnered the 2009 Ig Nobel Prize in biology for Fumiaki Taguchi, Song Guofu, and Zhang Guangle [see photo below of Prof. Taguchi accepting the Ig Nobel Prize; photo by Alexey Eliseev]. The news reports we’ve seen don’t say whether the new group is aware of the earlier research.

Alex Witze reports on the new findings, for Science News:

Pooping pandas may make better biofuels

Two giant pandas in the Memphis Zoo have dropped researchers a gift. Studies of the pandas’ poop show that their gut microbes break down bamboo efficiently — a trick that humans could co-opt to turn woody plant material into alternative energy sources. “We’re taking refuse — panda poop and the microbes that live there — and trying to break down another form of refuse,” says Ashli Brown, a biochemist at Mississippi State University. Brown described her team’s results on August 29 at a meeting in Denver of the American Chemical Society.

(Thanks to investigator Laura Bassett for bringing this to our attention.)