Production of Aspergillus niger biomass on sugarcane distillery wastewater: physiological aspects and potential for biodiesel production

Abstract : Background Sugarcane distillery waste water (SDW) or vinasse is the residual liquid waste generated during sugarcane molasses fermentation and alcohol distillation. Worldwide, this effluent is responsible for serious environmental issues. In Reunion Island, between 100 and 200 thousand tons of SDW are produced each year by the three local distilleries. In this study, the potential of Aspergillus niger to reduce the pollution load of SDW and to produce interesting metabolites has been investigated. Results The fungal biomass yield was 35 g L−1 corresponding to a yield of 0.47 g of biomass/g of vinasse without nutrient complementation. Analysis of sugar consumption indicated that mono-carbohydrates were initially released from residual polysaccharides and then gradually consumed until complete exhaustion. The high biomass yield likely arises from polysaccharides that are hydrolysed prior to be assimilated as monosaccharides and from organic acids and other complex compounds that provided additional C-sources for growth. Comparison of the size exclusion chromatography profiles of raw and pre-treated vinasse confirmed the conversion of humic- and/or phenolic-like molecules into protein-like metabolites. As a consequence, chemical oxygen demand of vinasse decreased by 53%. Interestingly, analysis of intracellular lipids of the biomass revealed high content in oleic acid and physical properties relevant for biodiesel application. Conclusions The soft-rot fungus A. niger demonstrated a great ability to grow on vinasse and to degrade this complex and hostile medium. The high biomass production is accompanied by a utilization of carbon sources like residual carbohydrates, organic acids and more complex molecules such as melanoidins. We also showed that intracellular lipids from fungal biomass can efficiently be exploited into biodiesel.
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Graziella Chuppa-Tostain, Julien Hoarau, Marie Watson, Laetitia Adelard, Alain Shum Cheong Sing, et al.. Production of Aspergillus niger biomass on sugarcane distillery wastewater: physiological aspects and potential for biodiesel production. Fungal Biology and Biotechnology, Biomed Central, 2018, 5 (1), ⟨10.1186/s40694-018-0045-6⟩. ⟨hal-01865696⟩

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