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Fibre degradation of wheat straw by Pleurotus erygnii under low moisture conditions during solid‐state fermentation

Baker, P.W., Charlton, A., Hale, M.D.C.
Letters in applied microbiology 2019 v.68 no.2 pp. 182-187
Pleurotus, biofuels, biomass, biotransformation, delignification, feeds, input costs, solid state fermentation, wheat bran, wheat straw, white-rot fungi
The application of solid‐state fermentation offers an alternative to conventional, submerged approaches for a variety of bioconversion processes, including animal feeds, biofuels and fungal bioproducts. Optimizing solid‐state fermentation under low moisture conditions could significantly impact the proportion of dry biomass that could be processed and improve the commercial viability of this approach, because of reduced input costs and higher yields of final products. Pleurotus erygnii that appeared to show tolerance to low moisture conditions was grown on saturated and desaturated wheat straw. Pleurotus erygnii showed insignificant fibre degradation although showed significantly lower biomass decomposition on desaturated wheat straw. Fibre decomposition by the fungus on wheat straw containing wheat bran showed marginally higher decomposition when saturated although there was no difference in biomass decomposition. The levels of delignification achieved were similar under different saturation conditions. It would appear that the fungus effectively decomposed fibre under low moisture conditions often resulting in lower biomass losses. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: In this study, a white rot fungus, Pleurotus erygnii, effectively decomposed fibre under low moisture conditions when grown on wheat straw at similar levels under higher moisture conditions. However, the addition of wheat bran to wheat straw created a heterogeneous system that appeared to allow P. erygnii to thrive under much lower moisture conditions although lower levels of fibre decomposition was obtained. These factors could influence the preparation of solid‐state fermentation.