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Studies on the biotechnological potential of Mucor inaequisporus and other mucoralean isolates for value-added products

Grant number: 15/18692-1
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): January 07, 2016
Effective date (End): July 06, 2016
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Organic Chemistry
Principal researcher:Edson Rodrigues Filho
Grantee:Enzo Monte Canedo
Supervisor abroad: Lew Paul Christopher
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Exatas e de Tecnologia (CCET). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Research place: Lakehead University, Canada  
Associated to the scholarship:11/09580-4 - Studies towards biotechnological applications of Mucor sp. isolated from Syzygium cumini (L.) Skeels, BP.DD


The use of Mucoralean fungi in industrial biotechnology is a field of growing interest for potential production of biofuels and other high-value products. The main goal of the proposed internship project is two-fold: 1) screen new isolates of Mucorales fungi for their biotechnological potential in lipid and ethanol production; 2) continue the characterization and optimization studies of Mucor inaequisporus, isolated from Syzygium cumini (L.) Skeels, in the areas of biodiesel production and solid waste treatment. The project will focus on: 1) use of low-cost lignocellulosic waste materials such as municipal solid waste, office waste and paper sludge, for production of fermentable sugars and value-added products from them (i.e. ethanol, lactic acid); and 2) optimize the yield of intracellular microbial oil for production of biodiesel and high-value unsaturated fatty acids. Our recent experiments demonstrated the potential of the M. inaequisporus fungus to produce enzymes such as cellulase, polygalacturonase and xylanase. These enzymes can be used to hydrolyze lignocellulosic solid waste to fermentable sugars. M. inaequisporus was also shown to accumulate lipids in excess of 30% by weight of the cell dry mass. These lipids could be used as a starting material in biodiesel production, or as a source of value-added unsaturated fatty acids such as ³-linolenic acid. Using the M. inaequisporus isolate as a reference and control, the following main tasks will be performed during the internship: 1) Screen new isolates of Mucorales fungi for their potential to accumulate lipids and produce ethanol; 2) Evaluate the potential of the best isolates to produce hydrolytic enzymes (cellulases and xylanases) and hydrolyze lignocellulosic waste materials (paper slude and waste, municipal solid waste) to fermentable sugars and possibly other value-added products; 3) Determine the lipid yield and composition by the best isolates on different carbon sources for fatty acid and biodiesel production. We expect that the internship at the Biorefining Research Institute (BRI) under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Lew P. Christopher will immensely contribute and expand our knowledge about Mucorales fungi and their potential biotechnological applications. (AU)