Agricultural waste processing with fungi: chemists develop effective technologies

20 January 2016 Faculty of Chemistry

In the course of work of Umnik student engineering office (supervisor, Candidate of Biology D.N. Sherbakov) young researchers from the Faculty of Chemistry (postgraduate student O.G. Pleshkova and students L.I. Chernikova and N.V. Nevedina supervised by Doctor of Chemistry, Professor N.G. Bazarnova) develop the technology of lingnocellulosic waste complex processing. The research is coordinated by Doctor of Biology, Professor, Head of Laboratory of Mycology under Vector scientific center T.V. Teplyakova.

Every year economic activities result in millions of tons of phytogenic waste. It is mainly wastes of agricultural, pulp and paper, woodworking industries. On the one hand, the wastes create ecologic pressure, but on the other hand, they contain such substances as pulp, which can be used in manufacturing and agriculture. The main problem faced by processing technologies is that this kind of waste contains lignin. Lignin is a complex polymeric compound resistant to chemical and biological exposure.

The project idea is to develop technology, which would make it possible to use lignin-carbohydrate waste to the maximum extent and receive scavenging products. Fungi were decided to become the basis of the technology, because these organisms possess unique fermentative system, which is able to recover even the most complex compounds, including xenobiotics. Effect of fungi on cereals helm, which is an agricultural waste, allows destroying the complex of lignin, pulp and hemicellulose of plant cell wall during the fermentation process. At the same time digestible protein is accumulated in the substrate. Such “processed” substrate may be a valuable food additive for animals. An important benefit of such additive is a complex of hydrolytic fungal enzymes that will encourage better digestion.

Apart from additives for animals, the technology will allow getting fungal fruiting bodies, which are sources of provision and valuable micronutrients, as a scavenging product.

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