, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 105-112
Date: 23 Oct 2012

Utilization of agricultural biomass in the production of the biopolymer schizophyllan

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Schizophyllan is a homoglucan produced by the fungus Schizophyllum commune, with a β-1,3-linked backbone and β-1,6-linked side chains of single glucose units at every other residue. Schizophyllan is commercially produced for pharmaceutical and cosmetics uses. However, the unique physical properties of schizophyllan suggest that it may have biomaterials applications. Schizophyllan is conventionally produced by submerged culture fermentation using glucose as a carbon source. This study demonstrates for the first time the efficient utilization of agricultural biomass substrates, particularly distiller’s dried grains with solubles, for schizophyllan production. Sugar composition analysis, NMR, and permethylation linkage analysis confirmed that the recovered product was schizophyllan. Schizophyllan produced from agricultural residues was of a high molecular weight and exhibited solution viscosity properties similar to those of commercially produced material. Utilization of biomass substrates could reduce the cost of schizophyllan production and provide a new value-added bioproduct for integrated biorefineries of the future.