Background: Agricultural activities generate large amounts of biomass residues and improper management of the biomass contributes to water, soil and air pollution. The quest to manage waste agricultural biomass and convert it into bioresource is therefore of great concern.
Methods: Fourteen fungal species isolated from decaying wood were identified and production of extracellular lignocellulolytic enzymes from the white and soft rot fungi grown on corn cob, coconut husk, wheat bran, rice bran and sawdust under submerged fermentation conditions was studied. Production of lignocellulolytic enzymes by Trichoderma koningii, Sporothrix carnis, Penicillium spiriulosum, Penicillium roquefortii and Penicillium restrictum were evaluated at the end of 192 hour fermentation period and the agricultural biomasses which supported highest enzyme yield were determined.
Results: All lignocellulosic biomasses under study supported the production of lignocellulolytic enzymes from the fungal isolates in varying yields. Sporothrix carnis gave the highest yield of lignocellulolytic enzymes on all substrates. Corn cob supported maximum yield of lignocellulolytic enzymes from Sporothrix carnis (750 U/mg cellulase; 512 U/mg xylanase; 576 U/mg laccase and 604 U/mg peroxidase) while sawdust supported maximum yield of the enzymes from Trichoderma koningii. Coconut husk and wheat bran were found to be best substrates for laccase and peroxidase production from Penicillium species under study.
Conclusion: Our findings show that agricultural biomasses are effective low cost substrates for the production of high yield of lignocellulolytic enzymes from fungi under study and the improved yield of these enzymes suggests their suitability for use in industrial applications.