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1.  Production of Biomass-Degrading Multienzyme Complexes under Solid-State Fermentation of Soybean Meal Using a Bioreactor 
Enzyme Research  2012;2012:248983.
Biomass-degrading enzymes are one of the most costly inputs affecting the economic viability of the biochemical route for biomass conversion into biofuels. This work evaluates the effects of operational conditions on biomass-degrading multienzyme production by a selected strain of Aspergillus niger. The fungus was cultivated under solid-state fermentation (SSF) of soybean meal, using an instrumented lab-scale bioreactor equipped with an on-line automated monitoring and control system. The effects of air flow rate, inlet air relative humidity, and initial substrate moisture content on multienzyme (FPase, endoglucanase, and xylanase) production were evaluated using a statistical design methodology. Highest production of FPase (0.55 IU/g), endoglucanase (35.1 IU/g), and xylanase (47.7 IU/g) was achieved using an initial substrate moisture content of 84%, an inlet air humidity of 70%, and a flow rate of 24 mL/min. The enzymatic complex was then used to hydrolyze a lignocellulosic biomass, releasing 4.4 g/L of glucose after 36 hours of saccharification of 50 g/L pretreated sugar cane bagasse. These results demonstrate the potential application of enzymes produced under SSF, thus contributing to generate the necessary technological advances to increase the efficiency of the use of biomass as a renewable energy source.
PMCID: PMC3544265  PMID: 23365723
2.  Production of cellulose by Aspergillus niger under submerged and solid state fermentation using coir waste as a substrate 
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology  2011;42(3):1119-1127.
Aspergillus niger was used for cellulase production in submerged (SmF) and solid state fermentation (SSF). The maximum production of cellulase was obtained after 72 h of incubation in SSF and 96 h in Smf. The CMCase and FPase activities recorded in SSF were 8.89 and 3.56 U per g of dry mycelial bran (DBM), respectively. Where as in Smf the CMase & FPase activities were found to be 3.29 and 2.3 U per ml culture broth, respectively. The productivity of extracellular cellulase in SSF was 14.6 fold higher than in SmF. The physical and nutritional parameters of fermentation like pH, temperature, substrate, carbon and nitrogen sources were optimized. The optimal conditions for maximum biosynthesis of cellulase by A. niger were shown to be at pH 6, temperature 30 °C. The additives like lactose, peptone and coir waste as substrate increased the productivity both in SmF and SSF. The moisture ratio of 1:2 (w/v) was observed for optimum production of cellulase in SSF.
PMCID: PMC3768773  PMID: 24031730
Aspergillus niger; coir waste; cellulase; submerged fermentation; solid-state fermentation
3.  The capability of endophytic fungi for production of hemicellulases and related enzymes 
BMC Biotechnology  2013;13:94.
There is an imperative necessity for alternative sources of energy able to reduce the world dependence of fossil oil. One of the most successful options is ethanol obtained mainly from sugarcane and corn fermentation. The foremost residue from sugarcane industry is the bagasse, a rich lignocellulosic raw material uses for the production of ethanol second generation (2G). New cellulolytic and hemicellulytic enzymes are needed, in order to optimize the degradation of bagasse and production of ethanol 2G.
The ability to produce hemicellulases and related enzymes, suitable for lignocellulosic biomass deconstruction, was explored using 110 endophytic fungi and 9 fungi isolated from spoiled books in Brazil. Two initial selections were performed, one employing the esculin gel diffusion assay, and the other by culturing on agar plate media with beechwood xylan and liquor from the hydrothermal pretreatment of sugar cane bagasse. A total of 56 isolates were then grown at 29°C on steam-exploded delignified sugar cane bagasse (DEB) plus soybean bran (SB) (3:1), with measurement of the xylanase, pectinase, β-glucosidase, CMCase, and FPase activities. Twelve strains were selected, and their enzyme extracts were assessed using different substrates. Finally, the best six strains were grown under xylan and pectin, and several glycohydrolases activities were also assessed. These strains were identified morphologically and by sequencing the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions and the partial β-tubulin gene (BT2). The best six strains were identified as Aspergillus niger DR02, Trichoderma atroviride DR17 and DR19, Alternaria sp. DR45, Annulohypoxylon stigyum DR47 and Talaromyces wortmannii DR49. These strains produced glycohydrolases with different profiles, and production was highly influenced by the carbon sources in the media.
The selected endophytic fungi Aspergillus niger DR02, Trichoderma atroviride DR17 and DR19, Alternaria sp. DR45, Annulohypoxylon stigyum DR47 and Talaromyces wortmannii DR49 are excellent producers of hydrolytic enzymes to be used as part of blends to decompose sugarcane biomass at industrial level.
PMCID: PMC3840621  PMID: 24175970
Endophytic fungi; Xylanase; Hemicellulases; Accessory enzymes
4.  Unraveling the structure of sugarcane bagasse after soaking in concentrated aqueous ammonia (SCAA) and ethanol production by Scheffersomyces (Pichia) stipitis 
Fuel ethanol production from sustainable and largely abundant agro-residues such as sugarcane bagasse (SB) provides long term, geopolitical and strategic benefits. Pretreatment of SB is an inevitable process for improved saccharification of cell wall carbohydrates. Recently, ammonium hydroxide-based pretreatment technologies have gained significance as an effective and economical pretreatment strategy. We hypothesized that soaking in concentrated aqueous ammonia-mediated thermochemical pretreatment (SCAA) would overcome the native recalcitrance of SB by enhancing cellulase accessibility of the embedded holocellulosic microfibrils.
In this study, we designed an experiment considering response surface methodology (Taguchi method, L8 orthogonal array) to optimize sugar recovery from ammonia pretreated sugarcane bagasse (SB) by using the method of soaking in concentrated aqueous ammonia (SCAA-SB). Three independent variables: ammonia concentration, temperature and time, were selected at two levels with center point. The ammonia pretreated bagasse (SCAA-SB) was enzymatically hydrolysed by commercial enzymes (Celluclast 1.5 L and Novozym 188) using 15 FPU/g dry biomass and 17.5 Units of β-glucosidase/g dry biomass at 50°C, 150 rpm for 96 h. A maximum of 28.43 g/l reducing sugars corresponding to 0.57 g sugars/g pretreated bagasse was obtained from the SCAA-SB derived using a 20% v/v ammonia solution, at 70°C for 24 h after enzymatic hydrolysis. Among the tested parameters, pretreatment time showed the maximum influence (p value, 0.053282) while ammonia concentration showed the least influence (p value, 0.612552) on sugar recovery. The changes in the ultra-structure and crystallinity of native SCAA-SB and enzymatically hydrolysed SB were observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), x-ray diffraction (XRD) and solid-state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The enzymatic hydrolysates and solid SCAA-SB were subjected to ethanol fermentation under separate hydrolysis and fermentation (SHF) and simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) by Scheffersomyces (Pichia) stipitis NRRL Y-7124 respectively. Higher ethanol production (10.31 g/l and yield, 0.387 g/g) was obtained through SSF than SHF (3.83 g/l and yield, 0.289 g/g).
SCAA treatment showed marked lignin removal from SB thus improving the accessibility of cellulases towards holocellulose substrate as evidenced by efficient sugar release. The ultrastructure of SB after SCAA and enzymatic hydrolysis of holocellulose provided insights of the degradation process at the molecular level.
PMCID: PMC3720555  PMID: 23856012
Sugarcane bagasse; Taguchi design; Soaking in concentrated aqueous ammonia; Scheffersomyces (Pichia) stipitis; Bioethanol
5.  Characterization of Cellulolytic Bacterial Cultures Grown in Different Substrates 
The Scientific World Journal  2013;2013:689235.
Nine aerobic cellulolytic bacterial cultures were obtained from the Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Culture (DSMZ) and the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC). The objectives of this study were to characterize the cellulolytic bacteria and to determine the optimum moisture ratio required for solid state fermentation (SSF) of palm kernel cake (PKC). The bacteria cultures were grown on reconstituted nutrient broth, incubated at 30°C and agitated at 200 rpm. Carboxymethyl cellulase, xylanase, and mannanase activities were determined using different substrates and after SSF of PKC. The SSF was conducted for 4 and 7 days with inoculum size of 10% (v/w) on different PKC concentration-to-moisture ratios: 1 : 0.2, 1 : 0.3, 1 : 0.4, and 1 : 0.5. Results showed that Bacillus amyloliquefaciens 1067 DSMZ, Bacillus megaterium 9885 ATCC, Paenibacillus curdlanolyticus 10248 DSMZ, and Paenibacillus polymyxa 842 ATCC produced higher enzyme activities as compared to other bacterial cultures grown on different substrates. The cultures mentioned above also produced higher enzyme activities when they were incubated under SSF using PKC as a substrate in different PKC-to-moisture ratios after 4 days of incubation, indicating that these cellulolytic bacteria can be used to degrade and improve the nutrient quality of PKC.
PMCID: PMC3844246  PMID: 24319380
6.  Correlation between Agar Plate Screening and Solid-State Fermentation for the Prediction of Cellulase Production by Trichoderma Strains 
Enzyme Research  2012;2012:793708.
The viability of converting biomass into biofuels and chemicals still requires further development towards the reduction of the enzyme production costs. Thus, there is a growing demand for the development of efficient procedures for selection of cellulase-producing microorganisms. This work correlates qualitative screening using agar plate assays with quantitative measurements of cellulase production during cultivation under solid-state fermentation (SSF). The initial screening step consisted of observation of the growth of 78 preselected strains of the genus Trichoderma on plates, using microcrystalline cellulose as carbon source. The 49 strains that were able to grow on this substrate were then subjected to a second screening step using the Congo red test. From this test it was possible to select 10 strains that presented the highest enzymatic indices (EI), with values ranging from 1.51 to 1.90. SSF cultivations using sugarcane bagasse and wheat bran as substrates were performed using selected strains. The CG 104NH strain presented the highest EGase activity (25.93 UI·g−1). The EI results obtained in the screening procedure using plates were compared with cellulase production under SSF. A correlation coefficient (R2) of 0.977 was obtained between the Congo red test and SSF, demonstrating that the two methodologies were in good agreement.
PMCID: PMC3514834  PMID: 23227312
7.  Production of Pectate Lyase by Penicillium viridicatum RFC3 in Solid-State and Submerged Fermentation 
Pectate lyase (PL) was produced by the filamentous fungus Penicillium viridicatum RFC3 in solid-state cultures of a mixture of orange bagasse and wheat bran (1 : 1 w/w), or orange bagasse, wheat bran and sugarcane bagasse (1 : 1 : 0.5 w/w), and in a submerged liquid culture with orange bagasse and wheat bran (3%) as the carbon source. PL production was highest (1,500 U  mL−1 or 300 Ug−1 of substrate) in solid-state fermentation (SSF) on wheat bran and orange bagasse at 96 hours. PL production in submerged fermentation (SmF) was influenced by the initial pH of the medium. With the initial pH adjusted to 4.5, 5.0, and 5.5, the peak activity was observed after 72, 48, and 24 hours of fermentation, respectively, when the pH of the medium reached the value 5.0. PL from SSF and SmF were loaded on Sephadex-G75 columns and six activity peaks were obtained from crude enzyme from SSF and designated PL I, II, III, IV, V, and VI, while five peaks were obtained from crude enzyme from SmF and labeled PL  I′, II′, III′, IV′, and VII′. Crude enzyme and fraction III from each fermentative process were tested further. The optimum pH for crude PL from either process was 5.5, while that for PL III was 8.0. The maximum activity of enzymes from SSF was observed at 35°C, but crude enzyme was more thermotolerant than PL III, maintaining its maximum activity up to 45°C. Crude enzyme from SmF and PL III′ showed thermophilic profiles of activity, with maximum activity at 60 and 55°C, respectively. In the absence of substrate, the crude enzyme from SSF was stable over the pH range 3.0–10.0 and PL III was most stable in the pH range 4.0–7.0. Crude enzyme from SmF retained 70%–80% of its maximum activity in the acid-neutral pH range (4.0–7.0), but PIII showed high stability at alkaline pH (7.5–9.5). PL from SSF was more thermolabile than that from SmF. The latter maintained 60% of its initial activity after 1 h at 55°C. The differing behavior of the enzymes with respect to pH and temperature suggests that they are different isozymes.
PMCID: PMC2913117  PMID: 20689719
8.  Optimization of pretreatment and fermentation conditions for production of extracellular cellulase complex using sugarcane bagasse 
Bioinformation  2014;10(10):606-610.
Sugarcane bagasse (SCB), a lignocellulosic byproduct of juice extraction from sugarcane, is rich in cellulose (40-42%). This could be used as a substrate for the production of cellulase complex. Fermentation conditions were optimized for production of cellulase complex (CMCase, Cellulobiase and FPase) by wild type Trichoderma sp. using sugarcane bagasse as sole carbon source. Alkaline treatment (2% NaOH) of bagasse (AlSCB) was found suitable for the production of reducing sugar over the acidic pretreatment method. After 5 days of incubation period, 5% substrate concentration at pH 5.0 and 400C resulted in maximum production of CMCase (0.622 U), while maximum (3.388 U) production of cellulobiase was obtained at 300C. The CMCase was precipitated and purified to the extent of 59.06 fold by affinity chromatography with 49.09% recovery. On 12% SDS-PAGE, a single band corresponding to 33 kDa was observed. The Km and Vmax for CMCase from Trichoderma was found 507.04 mg/ml and 65.32 mM/min, respectively. The enzyme exhibited maximum activity at 300C at pH-5.0 (0.363 U) and was stable over range of 20-60°C and pH 5.0-7.5.
PMCID: PMC4248341  PMID: 25489168
9.  Comparison of SHF and SSF of wet exploded corn stover and loblolly pine using in-house enzymes produced from T. reesei RUT C30 and A. saccharolyticus 
SpringerPlus  2014;3:516.
The aim of the present study was to compare bioethanol production from wet exploded corn stover (WECS) and loblolly pine (WELP) hydrolyzed with in-house and commercial enzymes and fermented separately (SHF) and simultaneously (SSF). In-house enzymes produced from Trichoderma reesei, RUT-C30 and a novel fungal strain, Aspergillus saccharolyticus were loaded as 5 and 15 FPU/g glucan and supplemented with 10 and 30 CBU/g glucan, respectively. For hydrolysis and fermentation, slurries of WECS and WELP at 5 and 10% (w/w) solids loading (SL) were utilized. Saccharomyces cerevisae was used for ethanol fermentation at 33°C. Maximally, 15.6 g/L and 13.4 g/L (corresponding to theoretical ethanol yield of 76% and 67%, respectively) were achieved in SSF process from WECS and WELP, respectively at 5% SL and 15 FPU/g glucan loading of in-house enzymes. Ethanol concentrations in all cases were higher for SSF compared to SHF under same conditions. A cross comparison of SSF with commercial enzymes (Celluclast 1.5 L + Novozym 188) showed highest ethanol concentration of 17.3 g/L and 15.4 g/L (corresponding to theoretical ethanol yield of 84% and 77%, respectively) from WECS and WELP, respectively at 5% SL and 15 FPU/g glucan. These findings demonstrated that in-house enzymes were comparable to commercial enzymes as these fungi produced other lignocellulolytic enzymes beyond cellulase and hence enhanced the overall enzyme activity.
PMCID: PMC4176844  PMID: 25279308
Wet explosion; Wet exploded corn stover; Wet exploded loblolly pine; T. reesei Rut C30; A. saccharolyticus; Fermentation; SHF; SSF
10.  Genome-wide transcriptional response of Trichoderma reesei to lignocellulose using RNA sequencing and comparison with Aspergillus niger 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:541.
A major part of second generation biofuel production is the enzymatic saccharification of lignocellulosic biomass into fermentable sugars. Many fungi produce enzymes that can saccarify lignocellulose and cocktails from several fungi, including well-studied species such as Trichoderma reesei and Aspergillus niger, are available commercially for this process. Such commercially-available enzyme cocktails are not necessarily representative of the array of enzymes used by the fungi themselves when faced with a complex lignocellulosic material. The global induction of genes in response to exposure of T. reesei to wheat straw was explored using RNA-seq and compared to published RNA-seq data and model of how A. niger senses and responds to wheat straw.
In T. reesei, levels of transcript that encode known and predicted cell-wall degrading enzymes were very high after 24 h exposure to straw (approximately 13% of the total mRNA) but were less than recorded in A. niger (approximately 19% of the total mRNA). Closer analysis revealed that enzymes from the same glycoside hydrolase families but different carbohydrate esterase and polysaccharide lyase families were up-regulated in both organisms. Accessory proteins which have been hypothesised to possibly have a role in enhancing carbohydrate deconstruction in A. niger were also uncovered in T. reesei and categories of enzymes induced were in general similar to those in A. niger. Similarly to A. niger, antisense transcripts are present in T. reesei and their expression is regulated by the growth condition.
T. reesei uses a similar array of enzymes, for the deconstruction of a solid lignocellulosic substrate, to A. niger. This suggests a conserved strategy towards lignocellulose degradation in both saprobic fungi. This study provides a basis for further analysis and characterisation of genes shown to be highly induced in the presence of a lignocellulosic substrate. The data will help to elucidate the mechanism of solid substrate recognition and subsequent degradation by T. reesei and provide information which could prove useful for efficient production of second generation biofuels.
PMCID: PMC3750697  PMID: 24060058
Trichoderma reesei; Aspergillus niger; Glycoside hydrolases; Carbohydrate esterases; Antisense RNA; RNA-sequencing
11.  Comparative secretome analysis of Trichoderma asperellum S4F8 and Trichoderma reesei Rut C30 during solid-state fermentation on sugarcane bagasse 
The lignocellulosic enzymes of Trichoderma species have received particular attention with regard to biomass conversion to biofuels, but the production cost of these enzymes remains a significant hurdle for their commercial application. In this study, we quantitatively compared the lignocellulolytic enzyme profile of a newly isolated Trichoderma asperellum S4F8 strain with that of Trichoderma reesei Rut C30, cultured on sugarcane bagasse (SCB) using solid-state fermentation (SSF).
Comparison of the lignocellulolytic enzyme profiles of S4F8 and Rut C30 showed that S4F8 had significantly higher hemicellulase and β-glucosidase enzyme activities. Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry analysis of the two fungal secretomes enabled the detection of 815 proteins in total, with 418 and 397 proteins being specific for S4F8 and Rut C30, respectively, and 174 proteins being common to both strains. In-depth analysis of the associated biological functions and the representation of glycoside hydrolase family members within the two secretomes indicated that the S4F8 secretome contained a higher diversity of main and side chain hemicellulases and β-glucosidases, and an increased abundance of some of these proteins compared with the Rut C30 secretome.
In SCB SSF, T. asperellum S4F8 produced a more complex lignocellulolytic cocktail, with enhanced hemicellulose and cellobiose hydrolysis potential, compared with T. reesei Rut C30. This bodes well for the development of a more cost-effective and efficient lignocellulolytic enzyme cocktail from T. asperellum for lignocellulosic feedstock hydrolysis.
PMCID: PMC4177139  PMID: 24286470
Trichoderma asperellum S4F8; Trichoderma reesei Rut C30; Secretome; Solid-state fermentation; Sugarcane bagasse; Proteomics
12.  Combined substrate, enzyme and yeast feed in simultaneous saccharification and fermentation allow bioethanol production from pretreated spruce biomass at high solids loadings 
Economically feasible cellulosic ethanol production requires that the process can be operated at high solid loadings, which currently imparts technical challenges including inefficient mixing leading to heat and mass transfer limitations and high concentrations of inhibitory compounds hindering microbial activity during simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) process. Consequently, there is a need to develop cost effective processes overcoming the challenges when working at high solid loadings.
In this study we have modified the yeast cultivation procedure and designed a SSF process to address some of the challenges at high water insoluble solids (WIS) content. The slurry of non-detoxified pretreated spruce when used in a batch SSF at 19% (w/w) WIS was found to be inhibitory to Saccharomyces cerevisiae Thermosacc that produced 2 g l-1 of ethanol. In order to reduce the inhibitory effect, the non-washed solid fraction containing reduced amount of inhibitors compared to the slurry was used in the SSF. Further, the cells were cultivated in the liquid fraction of pretreated spruce in a continuous culture wherein the outflow of cell suspension was used as cell feed to the SSF reactor in order to maintain the metabolic state of the cell. Enhanced cell viability was observed with cell, enzyme and substrate feed in a SSF producing 40 g l-1 ethanol after 96 h corresponding to 53% of theoretical yield based on available hexose sugars compared to 28 g l-1 ethanol in SSF with enzyme and substrate feed but no cell feed resulting in 37% of theoretical yield at a high solids loading of 20% (w/w) WIS content. The fed-batch SSF also significantly eased the mixing, which is usually challenging in batch SSF at high solids loading.
A simple modification of the cell cultivation procedure together with a combination of yeast, enzyme and substrate feed in a fed-batch SSF process, made it possible to operate at high solids loadings in a conventional bioreactor. The proposed process strategy significantly increased the yeast cell viability and overall ethanol yield. It was also possible to obtain 4% (w/v) ethanol concentration, which is a minimum requirement for an economical distillation process.
PMCID: PMC4234936  PMID: 24713027
High solids; High gravity; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; SSF
13.  Canola Cake as a Potential Substrate for Proteolytic Enzymes Production by a Selected Strain of Aspergillus oryzae: Selection of Process Conditions and Product Characterization 
ISRN Microbiology  2013;2013:369082.
Oil cakes have excellent nutritional value and offer considerable potential for use in biotechnological processes that employ solid-state fermentation (SSF) for the production of high value products. This work evaluates the feasibility of using canola cake as a substrate for protease production by a selected strain of Aspergillus oryzae cultivated under SSF. The influences of the following process parameters were considered: initial substrate moisture content, incubation temperature, inoculum size, and pH of the buffer used for protease extraction and activity analysis. Maximum protease activity was obtained after cultivating Aspergillus oryzae CCBP 001 at 20°C, using an inoculum size of 107 spores/g in canola cake medium moistened with 40 mL of water to 100 g of cake. Cultivation and extraction under selected conditions increased protease activity 5.8-fold, compared to the initial conditions. Zymogram analysis of the enzymatic extract showed that the protease molecular weights varied between 31 and 200 kDa. The concentrated protease extract induced clotting of casein in 5 min. The results demonstrate the potential application of canola cake for protease production under SSF and contribute to the technological advances needed to increase the efficiency of processes designed to add value to agroindustrial wastes.
PMCID: PMC3886222  PMID: 24455400
14.  Process optimization and production kinetics for cellulase production by Trichoderma viride VKF3 
SpringerPlus  2014;3:92.
Microbial cellulases are the enzymes widely studied due to their enormous applications in biochemical industry. Among 12 fungal isolates isolated from mangrove plant debris and soil sample collected from Valanthakad Mangroves, Kerala, India, 3 of them were found to exhibit cellulolytic activity. Among them, the most potent isolate which exhibited maximum cellulolytic activity was identified as Trichoderma viride VKF3 [Gene bank accession number- JX683684.1] based on colony morphology, microscopic observation and molecular centeracterization using D1/D2 region amplification. The isolate T. viride VKF3 was found to be non-phytopathogenic against the selected plants. Neighbour joining tree depicted its least divergence rate from the root taxon HM466686.1. T. viride VKF3 was grown under dynamic carbon, nitrogen sources, pH and temperature of the medium to draw out the optimum conditions for cellulase production. Protein stability kinetics and biomass production was also studied upto 11th day of incubation. It was evident from the study, that dextrose and beef extract could be used as major carbon and nitrogen sources in submerged fermentation at pH 9.0 and incubation temperature of 25°C to get maximum CMCase yield. Optimum enzyme recovery period was identified between 5th to 9th days of incubation beyond which the enzyme activity was reduced. By comparing two fermentation methods, submerged fermentation was found to be the best for maximum enzyme production. But utilization of substrates like sugarcane bagasse and cassava starch waste in the SSF offers a better scope in biodegradation of solid waste contributing to solid waste management.
PMCID: PMC3940716  PMID: 24600546
Cellulase; Trichoderma viride; Solid state fermentation; Biomass production; Protein production kinetics
15.  A biodegradation study of forest biomass by Aspergillus niger F7: correlation between enzymatic activity, hydrolytic percentage and biodegradation index 
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology  2012;43(2):467-475.
Aspergillus niger F7 isolated from soil was found to be the potent producer of cellulase and xylanase. The residue of forest species Toona ciliata, Celtris australis, Cedrus deodara and Pinus roxburghii was selected as substrate for biodegradation study due to its easy availability and wide use in industry. It was subjected to alkali (sodium hydroxide) treatment for enhancing its degradation. Biodegradation of forest waste by hydrolytic enzymes (cellulase and xylanase) secreted by A. niger under solid state fermentation (SSF) was explored. SSF of pretreated forest biomass was found to be superior over untreated forest biomass. Highest extracellular enzyme activity of 2201±23.91 U/g by A. niger was shown in pretreated C. australis wood resulting in 6.72±0.20 percent hydrolysis and 6.99±0.23 biodegradation index (BI). The lowest BI of 1.40±0.08 was observed in untreated saw dust of C. deodara having the least enzyme activity of 238±1.36 U/g of dry matter. Biodegradation of forest biomass under SSF was increased many folds when moistening agent i.e. tap water had been replaced with modified basal salt media (BSM). In BSM mediated degradation of forest waste with A. niger, extracellular enzyme activity was increased up to 4089±67.11 U/g of dry matter in turn resulting in higher BI of 15.4±0.41 and percent hydrolysis of 19.38±0.81 in pretreated C. australis wood. A. niger exhibited higher enzyme activity on pretreated biomass when moistened with modified BSM in this study. Statistically a positive correlation has been drawn between these three factors i.e. enzyme activity, BI and percent hydrolysis of forest biomass thus proving their direct relationship with each other.
PMCID: PMC3768808  PMID: 24031853
Aspergillus niger; SSF; enzyme activity; percent hydrolysis; biodegradation index
16.  Impact of cultivar selection and process optimization on ethanol yield from different varieties of sugarcane 
The development of ‘energycane’ varieties of sugarcane is underway, targeting the use of both sugar juice and bagasse for ethanol production. The current study evaluated a selection of such ‘energycane’ cultivars for the combined ethanol yields from juice and bagasse, by optimization of dilute acid pretreatment optimization of bagasse for sugar yields.
A central composite design under response surface methodology was used to investigate the effects of dilute acid pretreatment parameters followed by enzymatic hydrolysis on the combined sugar yield of bagasse samples. The pressed slurry generated from optimum pretreatment conditions (maximum combined sugar yield) was used as the substrate during batch and fed-batch simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) processes at different solid loadings and enzyme dosages, aiming to reach an ethanol concentration of at least 40 g/L.
Significant variations were observed in sugar yields (xylose, glucose and combined sugar yield) from pretreatment-hydrolysis of bagasse from different cultivars of sugarcane. Up to 33% difference in combined sugar yield between best performing varieties and industrial bagasse was observed at optimal pretreatment-hydrolysis conditions. Significant improvement in overall ethanol yield after SSF of the pretreated bagasse was also observed from the best performing varieties (84.5 to 85.6%) compared to industrial bagasse (74.5%). The ethanol concentration showed inverse correlation with lignin content and the ratio of xylose to arabinose, but it showed positive correlation with glucose yield from pretreatment-hydrolysis. The overall assessment of the cultivars showed greater improvement in the final ethanol concentration (26.9 to 33.9%) and combined ethanol yields per hectare (83 to 94%) for the best performing varieties with respect to industrial sugarcane.
These results suggest that the selection of sugarcane variety to optimize ethanol production from bagasse can be achieved without adversely affecting juice ethanol and cane yield, thus maintaining first generation ethanol production levels while maximizing second generation ethanol production.
PMCID: PMC3997192  PMID: 24725458
17.  Integrated analysis of hydrothermal flow through pretreatment 
The impact of hydrothermal flowthrough (FT) pretreatment severity on pretreatment and solubilization performance metrics was evaluated for three milled feedstocks (corn stover, bagasse, and poplar) and two conversion systems (simultaneous saccharification and fermentation using yeast and fungal cellulase, and fermentation by Clostridium thermocellum).
Compared to batch pretreatment, FT pretreatment consistently resulted in higher XMG recovery, higher removal of non-carbohydrate carbon and higher glucan solubilization by simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF). XMG recovery was above 90% for FT pretreatment below 4.1 severity but decreased at higher severities, particularly for bagasse. Removal of non-carbohydrate carbon during FT pretreatment increased from 65% at low severity to 80% at high severity for corn stover, and from 40% to 70% for bagasse and poplar.
Solids obtained by FT pretreatment were amenable to high conversion for all of the feedstocks and conversion systems examined. The optimal time and temperature for FT pretreatment on poplar were found to be 16 min and 210°C. At these conditions, SSF glucan conversion was about 85%, 94% of the XMG was removed, and 62% of the non carbohydrate mass was solubilized. Solubilization of FT-pretreated poplar was compared for C. thermocellum fermentation (10% inoculum), and for yeast-fungal cellulase SSF (5% inoculum, cellulase loading of 5 and 10 FPU/g glucan supplemented with β-glucosidase at 15 and 30 U/g glucan). Under the conditions tested, which featured low solids concentration, C. thermocellum fermentation achieved faster rates and more complete conversion of FT-pretreated poplar than did SSF. Compared to SSF, solubilization by C. thermocellum was 30% higher after 4 days, and was over twice as fast on ball-milled FT-pretreated poplar.
XMG removal trends were similar between feedstocks whereas glucan conversion trends were significantly different, suggesting that factors in addition to XMG removal impact amenability of glucan to enzymatic attack. Corn stover exhibited higher hydrolysis yields than bagasse or poplar, which could be due to higher removal of non-carbohydrate carbon. XMG in bagasse is more easily degraded than XMG in corn stover and poplar. Conversion of FT-pretreated substrates at low concentration was faster and more complete for C. thermocellum than for SSF.
PMCID: PMC3495837  PMID: 22812930
Flowthrough pretreatment; Hydrothermal pretreatment; Biofuel; Cellulosic; Xylan; SSF; Consolidated bioprocessing; Clostridium thermocellum
18.  Simultaneous allergen inactivation and detoxification of castor bean cake by treatment with calcium compounds 
Ricinus communis L. is of great economic importance due to the oil extracted from its seeds. Castor oil has been used for pharmaceutical and industrial applications, as a lubricant or coating agent, as a component of plastic products, as a fungicide or in the synthesis of biodiesel fuels. After oil extraction, a castor cake with a large amount of protein is obtained. However, this by-product cannot be used as animal feed due to the presence of toxic (ricin) and allergenic (2S albumin) proteins. Here, we propose two processes for detoxification and allergen inactivation of the castor cake. In addition, we establish a biological test to detect ricin and validate these detoxification processes. In this test, Vero cells were treated with ricin, and cell death was assessed by cell counting and measurement of lactate dehydrogenase activity. The limit of detection of the Vero cell assay was 10 ng/mL using a concentration of 1.6 × 105 cells/well. Solid-state fermentation (SSF) and treatment with calcium compounds were used as cake detoxification processes. For SSF, Aspergillus niger was grown using a castor cake as a substrate, and this cake was analyzed after 24, 48, 72, and 96 h of SSF. Ricin was eliminated after 24 h of SSF treatment. The cake was treated with 4 or 8% Ca(OH)2 or CaO, and both the toxicity and the allergenic properties were entirely abolished. A by-product free of toxicity and allergens was obtained.
PMCID: PMC3854158  PMID: 22911344
Ricinus communis; 2S albumin; Ricin; Biodiesel fuel; Solid-state fermentation; Vero cells
19.  Comparative kinetic analysis of two fungal β-glucosidases 
The enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose is still considered as one of the main limiting steps of the biological production of biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass. It is a complex multistep process, and various kinetic models have been proposed. The cellulase enzymatic cocktail secreted by Trichoderma reesei has been intensively investigated. β-glucosidases are one of a number of cellulolytic enzymes, and catalyze the last step releasing glucose from the inhibitory cellobiose. β-glucosidase (BGL1) is very poorly secreted by Trichoderma reesei strains, and complete hydrolysis of cellulose often requires supplementation with a commercial β-glucosidase preparation such as that from Aspergillus niger (Novozymes SP188). Surprisingly, kinetic modeling of β-glucosidases lacks reliable data, and the possible differences between native T. reesei and supplemented β-glucosidases are not taken into consideration, possibly because of the difficulty of purifying BGL1.
A comparative kinetic analysis of β-glucosidase from Aspergillus niger and BGL1 from Trichoderma reesei, purified using a new and efficient fast protein liquid chromatography protocol, was performed. This purification is characterized by two major steps, including the adsorption of the major cellulases onto crystalline cellulose, and a final purification factor of 53. Quantitative analysis of the resulting β-glucosidase fraction from T. reesei showed it to be 95% pure. Kinetic parameters were determined using cellobiose and a chromogenic artificial substrate. A new method allowing easy and rapid determination of the kinetic parameters was also developed. β-Glucosidase SP188 (Km = 0.57 mM; Kp = 2.70 mM) has a lower specific activity than BGL1 (Km = 0.38 mM; Kp = 3.25 mM) and is also more sensitive to glucose inhibition. A Michaelis-Menten model integrating competitive inhibition by the product (glucose) has been validated and is able to predict the β-glucosidase activity of both enzymes.
This article provides a useful comparison between the activity of β-glucosidases from two different fungi, and shows the importance of fully characterizing both enzymes. A Michaelis-Menten model was developed, including glucose inhibition and kinetic parameters, which were accurately determined and compared. This model can be further integrated into a cellulose hydrolysis model dissociating β-glucosidase activity from that of other cellulases. It can also help to define the optimal enzymatic cocktails for new β-glucosidase activities.
PMCID: PMC2847552  PMID: 20181208
20.  Improvement of xylanase production by Aspergillus niger XY-1 using response surface methodology for optimizing the medium composition*  
Objective: To study the optimal medium composition for xylanase production by Aspergillus niger XY-1 in solid-state fermentation (SSF). Methods: Statistical methodology including the Plackett-Burman design (PBD) and the central composite design (CCD) was employed to investigate the individual crucial component of the medium that significantly affected the enzyme yield. Results: Firstly, NaNO3, yeast extract, urea, Na2CO3, MgSO4, peptone and (NH4)2SO4 were screened as the significant factors positively affecting the xylanase production by PBD. Secondly, by valuating the nitrogen sources effect, urea was proved to be the most effective and economic nitrogen source for xylanase production and used for further optimization. Finally, the CCD and response surface methodology (RSM) were applied to determine the optimal concentration of each significant variable, which included urea, Na2CO3 and MgSO4. Subsequently a second-order polynomial was determined by multiple regression analysis. The optimum values of the critical components for maximum xylanase production were obtained as follows: x 1 (urea)=0.163 (41.63 g/L), x 2 (Na2CO3)=−1.68 (2.64 g/L), x 3 (MgSO4)=1.338 (10.68 g/L) and the predicted xylanase value was 14374.6 U/g dry substrate. Using the optimized condition, xylanase production by Aspergillus niger XY-1 after 48 h fermentation reached 14637 U/g dry substrate with wheat bran in the shake flask. Conclusion: By using PBD and CCD, we obtained the optimal composition for xylanase production by Aspergillus niger XY-1 in SSF, and the results of no additional expensive medium and shortened fermentation time for higher xylanase production show the potential for industrial utilization.
PMCID: PMC2443352  PMID: 18600786
Xylanase; Optimization of medium composition; Plackett-Burman design (PBD); Central composite design (CCD); Response surface methodology (RSM); Aspergillus niger XY-1
21.  Cellulolytic enzymes on lignocellulosic substrates in solid state fermentation by Aspergillus niger 
Indian Journal of Microbiology  2008;47(4):323-328.
The production of cellulolytic enzymes by Aspergillus niger on lignocellulosic substrates groundnut fodder, wheat bran, rice bran and sawdust in solid state fermentation in a laboratory scale was compared. Czapek Dox liquid broth amended with cellulose (0.5%) was used to moisten lignocellulosic solid supports for cultivation of Aspergillus niger. The production of filter paperase, carboxymethyl cellulase and -glucosidase were monitored at daily intervals for 5 days. The peak production of the enzymes occurred within 3 days of incubation. Among solid supports used in the study, wheat bran was the best solid matrix followed by groundnut fodder in production of cellulolytic enzymes in solid state fermentation. Groundnut fodder supported significant production of FPase (2.09 FPU/g), CMCase (1.36 U/g) and -glucosidase activity (0.0117 U/g) in solid state fermentation. Considerable secretion of protein (5.10 mg/g) on groundnut fodder at peak time interval 1st day of incubation was recorded.
PMCID: PMC3450032  PMID: 23100685
Cellulolytic enzymes; Lignocellulosic substrates; Wheat bran; Groundnut fodder; Rice bran; Sawdust; Solid state fermentation; Aspergillus niger
22.  Phytase Production by Aspergillus niger CFR 335 and Aspergillus ficuum SGA 01 through Submerged and Solid-State Fermentation 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:392615.
Fermentation is one of the industrially important processes for the development of microbial metabolites that has immense applications in various fields. This has prompted to employ fermentation as a major technique in the production of phytase from microbial source. In this study, a comparison was made between submerged (SmF) and solid-state fermentations (SSF) for the production of phytase from Aspergillus niger CFR 335 and Aspergillus ficuum SGA 01. It was found that both the fungi were capable of producing maximum phytase on 5th day of incubation in both submerged and solid-state fermentation media. Aspergillus niger CFR 335 and A. ficuum produced a maximum of 60.6 U/gds and 38 U/gds of the enzyme, respectively, in wheat bran solid substrate medium. Enhancement in the enzyme level (76 and 50.7 U/gds) was found when grown in a combined solid substrate medium comprising wheat bran, rice bran, and groundnut cake in the ratio of 2 : 1 : 1. A maximum of 9.6 and 8.2 U/mL of enzyme activity was observed in SmF by A. niger CFR 335 and A.ficuum, respectively, when grown in potato dextrose broth.
PMCID: PMC3928852  PMID: 24688383
23.  Disruption of Trichoderma reesei cre2, encoding an ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase, results in increased cellulase activity 
BMC Biotechnology  2011;11:103.
The filamentous fungus Trichoderma reesei (Hypocrea jecorina) is an important source of cellulases for use in the textile and alternative fuel industries. To fully understand the regulation of cellulase production in T. reesei, the role of a gene known to be involved in carbon regulation in Aspergillus nidulans, but unstudied in T. reesei, was investigated.
The T. reesei orthologue of the A. nidulans creB gene, designated cre2, was identified and shown to be functional through heterologous complementation of a creB mutation in A. nidulans. A T. reesei strain was constructed using gene disruption techniques that contained a disrupted cre2 gene. This strain, JKTR2-6, exhibited phenotypes similar to the A. nidulans creB mutant strain both in carbon catabolite repressing, and in carbon catabolite derepressing conditions. Importantly, the disruption also led to elevated cellulase levels.
These results demonstrate that cre2 is involved in cellulase expression. Since the disruption of cre2 increases the amount of cellulase activity, without severe morphological affects, targeting creB orthologues for disruption in other industrially useful filamentous fungi, such as Aspergillus oryzae, Trichoderma harzianum or Aspergillus niger may also lead to elevated hydrolytic enzyme activity in these species.
PMCID: PMC3226525  PMID: 22070776
24.  Transcriptome analysis of Aspergillus niger grown on sugarcane bagasse 
Considering that the costs of cellulases and hemicellulases contribute substantially to the price of bioethanol, new studies aimed at understanding and improving cellulase efficiency and productivity are of paramount importance. Aspergillus niger has been shown to produce a wide spectrum of polysaccharide hydrolytic enzymes. To understand how to improve enzymatic cocktails that can hydrolyze pretreated sugarcane bagasse, we used a genomics approach to investigate which genes and pathways are transcriptionally modulated during growth of A. niger on steam-exploded sugarcane bagasse (SEB).
Herein we report the main cellulase- and hemicellulase-encoding genes with increased expression during growth on SEB. We also sought to determine whether the mRNA accumulation of several SEB-induced genes encoding putative transporters is induced by xylose and dependent on glucose. We identified 18 (58% of A. niger predicted cellulases) and 21 (58% of A. niger predicted hemicellulases) cellulase- and hemicellulase-encoding genes, respectively, that were highly expressed during growth on SEB.
Degradation of sugarcane bagasse requires production of many different enzymes which are regulated by the type and complexity of the available substrate. Our presently reported work opens new possibilities for understanding sugarcane biomass saccharification by A. niger hydrolases and for the construction of more efficient enzymatic cocktails for second-generation bioethanol.
PMCID: PMC3219568  PMID: 22008461
25.  Biodegradation of Palm Kernel Cake by Cellulolytic and Hemicellulolytic Bacterial Cultures through Solid State Fermentation 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:729852.
Four cellulolytic and hemicellulolytic bacterial cultures were purchased from the Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Culture (DSMZ) and the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC). Two experiments were conducted; the objective of the first experiment was to determine the optimum time period required for solid state fermentation (SSF) of palm kernel cake (PKC), whereas the objective of the second experiment was to investigate the effect of combinations of these cellulolytic and hemicellulolytic bacteria on the nutritive quality of the PKC. In the first experiment, the SSF was lasted for 12 days with inoculum size of 10% (v/w) on different PKC to moisture ratios. In the second experiment, fifteen combinations were created among the four microbes with one untreated PKC as a control. The SSF lasted for 9 days, and the samples were autoclaved, dried, and analyzed for proximate analysis. Results showed that bacterial cultures produced high enzymes activities at the 4th day of SSF, whereas their abilities to produce enzymes tended to be decreased to reach zero at the 8th day of SSF. Findings in the second experiment showed that hemicellulose and cellulose was significantly (P < 0.05) decreased, whereas the amount of reducing sugars were significantly (P < 0.05) increased in the fermented PKC (FPKC) compared with untreated PKC.
PMCID: PMC4082864  PMID: 25019097

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