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Valorization of the agricultural residue banana pseudostem for the production of fungal biopigments

Grant number: 23/18061-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2024
Effective date (End): January 31, 2029
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Microbiology - Applied Microbiology
Principal Investigator:Júlio César dos Santos
Grantee:Maria Teresa Ferreira Ramos Raymundo
Host Institution: Escola de Engenharia de Lorena (EEL). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Lorena , SP, Brazil


Biopigments are important components in various types of products, especially in food and pharmaceuticals, due to their beneficial health properties. Several microorganisms are capable of producing biopigments, including the filamentous fungus Monascus ruber, widely used in Asian countries, which produces biopigments in yellow, orange, and red colors, and the yeast Rhodotorula minuta, a producer of carotenoids with excellent antioxidant properties. Despite their advantages, the production of microbial biopigments is still limited due to their high production costs compared to synthetic pigments, mainly related to the components of the culture medium. Therefore, the use of substrates derived from agricultural waste is an interesting and environmentally friendly alternative. For instance, banana pseudostem is a widely available agro-industrial waste in Brazil, the fourth largest banana producer in the world, rich in carbohydrates that can be used as a substrate for fermentation. In this context, this study aims to valorize banana pseudostem for the production of fungal biopigments by M. ruber and R. minuta. Different alternatives will be evaluated to obtain fermentable sugars from the biomass, including diluted acid pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis assisted by hydrodynamic cavitation. Additionally, the production of biopigments by M. ruber in hemicellulosic hydrolysate of banana pseudostem will be assessed, along with the fungal cell adaptation in a culture medium containing fermentation inhibitors derived from acid hydrolysis. Furthermore, fermentation processes will be carried out in a co-culture of M. ruber and R. minuta and of the filamentous fungus with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, using cultivation media based on cellulose hydrolysate, detoxified hemicellulose hydrolysate and mixed hydrolysate derived from banana pseudostem as substrates. The execution of this project will contribute to the development of a sustainable technology for valorizing agricultural waste from banana pseudostem to obtain fungal biopigments with high added value. (AU)

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