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Production of Biomass-Degrading Multienzyme Complexes under Solid-State Fermentation of Soybean Meal Using a Bioreactor

DOI: 10.1155/2012/248983

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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. 1. Introduction Biomass-degrading enzymes are one of the most costly inputs affecting the economic viability of the biochemical route for biomass conversion into biofuels. This is due to the large scale of the processes involved in biofuel production, and the considerable quantities of enzymes that are required. In addition to quantity, the quality of the enzymatic complex is an important issue, since a cocktail containing cellulases, hemicellulases, pectinases, and other accessory enzymes, acting in synergy in the degradation process, is necessary due to the high recalcitrance of plant biomass. This enzymatic complex is produced by a wide variety of microorganisms (bacteria and fungi); however, the aerobic fungi are known for their higher growth and protein secretion rates [1, 2]. Most commercial cellulases are produced by filamentous fungi of the genera Trichoderma and Aspergillus [3]. The use of solid-state fermentation (SSF) is particularly advantageous for enzyme production by filamentous fungi, since it simulates the natural habitat of the microorganisms [4]. From the environmental point of view, the main benefit of SSF is the ability to use agroindustrial waste (sugarcane bagasse, wheat bran, soybean meal, etc.) as a solid substrate that


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