The coffee industry represents great commercial importance for many emerging countries, especially Brazil, which is considered the largest coffee producer in the world. However, this production process is responsible for the generation of a large amount of wastewater, with emphasis on the pulping and fermentation stage. Coffee Processing Wastewater (CPWW) is difficult to degrade as it has a large amount of organic matter and toxic components and, therefore, it is necessary to apply a pre-treatment of this effluent before disposal. Methods have been studied to reach economically viable solutions for the management of this wastewater, with emphasis on anaerobic digestion, which has been studied in the treatment of CPWW, with the advantage of converting organic compounds into biogas. However, CPWW is toxic to the anaerobic consortium and the optimization of the process is necessary. Considering that basidiomycete fungi are recognized for their ability to detoxify contaminated environments, in addition to having a greater capacity than prokaryotes to resist adverse conditions, this project proposes the application of an innovative biological pre-treatment, which employs basidiomycete fungi that produce ligninolytic enzymes for the reduction of effluent toxicity. The following steps are included in the project: growth evaluation of the fungus Pleurotus ostreatus in the presence of CPWW in the solid-state; 2. estimate the degradation of CPWW components by this fungus (pre-treatment) from experimental designs 4. determination of the anaerobic biodegradability of the pre-treated effluent and in natura effluent, with a comparison of the processes through the estimation of kinetic parameters of the methane production. It is believed that the treatment of CPWW by the basidiomycete P. ostreatus will promote the reduction of CPWW toxicity, enabling an improvement in the performance of energy production through anaerobic digestion.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: