A semi-continuous culture system for production of cellulolytic and xylanolytic enzymes by the anaerobic fungus Piromyces sp. strain E2

Research paper by Marcel J. Teunissen, Richard J. S. Baerends, Robert A. G. Knelissen, Huub J. M. Op den Camp, Godfried D. Vogels

Indexed on: 01 Oct '92Published on: 01 Oct '92Published in: Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


A system was developed for the semi-continuous cultivation of an anaerobic fungus, Piromyces sp. strain E2 (isolated from an Indian elephant), on Avicel (microcrystalline cellulose). The fungus was grown in a semi-continuous culture system: solids and fungal biomass was retained by means of a simple filter construction whereas the culture fluid was removed continuously. The production of fermentation products (acetate, ethanol, formate, lactate, hydrogen or methane), cellulolytic and xylanolytic enzymes, and protein by the fungus in monoculture or co-culture with Methanobacterium formicicum during growth on Avicel was monitored up to 45 days. These productions stabilized after an adaptation period of 24 and 30 days in the semi-continuous co-culture and monoculture, respectively. After this period the average (±SD) avicelase, β-glucosidase, endoglucanase, and xylanase production in the semi-continuous monoculture were 27±6, 140±16, 1057±120 and 5012±583 IU.l−1.dya−1, respectively. Co-culture with the methanogen caused a shift in fermentation products to more acetate, and less ethanol and lactate. Furthermore, the production of all cellulolytic enzymes increased (40%) and xylanolytic enzyme production decreased (35%).