Bioprocess and biosystems engineering

Biomass estimation during macro-scale solid-state fermentation of basidiomycetes using established and novel approaches.

PMID 25656698


Solid-state fermentation (SSF) has been utilised in food production for millennia and is well suited for the cultivation of basidiomycetes, due to the robustness of the process and the possibility of using lignocellulose as the substrate. Basidiomycetes produce diverse enzymes and various primary and secondary metabolites, many of which have biotechnological potential. The quantification of the fungal biomass present is essential for the characterisation of growth kinetics in processes such as SSF. In SSF, fungi grow into the substrate and use it as a nutrient source. Therefore, direct biomass determination is not possible and indirect methods have to be employed. In the presented study, we compared 11 methods for quantifying fungal biomass during SSF of the basidiomycete Trametes hirsuta in a newly developed laboratory reactor (working volume 10 L). The methods were based on measuring the levels of six cell-specific components (ergosterol, glucosamine, nucleic acids, number of fungal nuclei, protein and genomic DNA) and estimations of biological activity (respiration, activities of lignolytic and cellulolytic enzymes, and the glucose and protein contents of the liquid). The methods were evaluated with regards to reproducibility and plausibility of the results, time and resource requirements, possible influential factors, and matrix effects. The most reliable biomass estimates were obtained from measurements of ergosterol content, number of nuclei, and respiration. Thus, these three methods were deemed most suitable for process control and modelling.