Investigation of physical parameters important for the solid state fermentation of straw by white rot fungi
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In laboratory and semi-industrial scale experiments the influence of the substrate water content, temperature, and incubation time on the progress of solid state fermentation of straw colonized by white rot fungi was investigated. The parameters used to evaluate the fermentation process were degradation of total organic matter and lignin, in vitro digestibility, the content of water soluble substances in the substrate and the pH.
The degradation of total organic matter was species specific. Only Trametes hirsuta enhanced the degradation at elevated temperature (30 °C). With Abortiporus biennis, Ganoderma applanatum, and Pleurotus serotinus, elevated temperature had and adverse effect. Prolonged incubation only improved degradation of straw by the relatively slowgrowing fungi Ganoderma applanatum, Lenzites betulina, and Pleurotus sajor caju.
Elevated temperature and prolonged incubation shifted the relative degradation rates in favour of total organic matter degradation. With Ganoderma applanatum, Pleurotus ostreatus, and Pleurotus serotinus lignin degradation, even on an absolute scale, was less at 30 °C than at 22 °C.
In general, the in vitro digestibility also decreased, when the incubation time and temperature were raised. With Ganoderma applanatum the in vitro digestibility dropped below the value of the sterile straw control.
Solid state fermentation of straw was at an optimum at a medium water content of 75 ml/25 g of substrate. However, most of the fungi tested could digest straw over a wide range of water content. At higher water contents (125–150 ml/25 g of substrate) an increased production of aerial mycelium was observed.
In semi-industrial batch experiments (40 kg) with Abortiporus biennis the in vitro digestibility dropped below the reference value for sterile straw during the first 19 days of incubation. Later, the in vitro digestibility again rose and reached its optimum after about 60 days. The in vitro digestibility in the semi-industrial experiments was always lower than in the laboratory experiments (+9% and +25%, respectively).
In long term experiments (2.5 kg batches, 8 months of incubation) very different values for the in vitro digestibility were found, and these depended on the fungus used (Abortiporus biennis, +16%; Pleurotus ostreatus, +4%; and Ganoderma applanatum, −27%).
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