Enhanced Cellulase Production for Improved Degradation of Maize Cob: A Mixed-Fungal Fermentation


  • Abbas Olagunju Department of biochemistry, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria
  • Elewechi Onyike
  • Danladi A. Ameh
  • Sunday E. Atawodi
  • Aliyu Salihu




Cellulases are considered the most prominent of enzymes involved in the microbial breakdown of lignocellulosic waste. This study was designed to investigate the effect of various fermentation conditions on cellulase enzyme production in maize cobs from single and mixed fungal cultures as an index of good degradation and digestibility. Maize cobs were prepared and alkaline pretreated. Single and mixed-culture solid state fermentations with four degrading fungal species Aspergillus niger, Trichoderma reesei, Lachnocladium flavidum and Lenzites betulina were carried out and process parameters of incubation time, moisture content, inoculum concentration, pH, carbon source and nitrogen source were optimized from 10 groups of independent and mixed combinations of the fungi. Results indicated that A. niger and a co-culture of T. reesei/ L. flavidum were found to be most effective cellulase producers, with optimal conditions of: pH 3 - 7, moisture 70 - 75%, incubation period of 10 days, culture concentration of 5.5 x 103 spores/ ml. 1% glucose and peptone among several carbon and nitrogen supplements respectively supported optimal activities. Cellulose content was reduced by all the fermenting organisms to different degrees, however mixed culture of T. reesei and A. niger had the most significant reduction in cellulose (73.3 %). Optimal degradation of maize cob using mixed fungal cultures can be exploited for better utilization and improvement of nutritive value.


Download data is not yet available.


Adeowale, E. A. (1984). Non-convential feed resources. Nigerian Food Journal, 2,181-189.

Ahmed, S.A. (2008). Optimization of production and extraction parameters of Bacillus megaterium levansucrase using solid state fermentation. Journal Applied Science and Resource, 4 (10), 1199-1204.

Alexandra, R. R. and Griffiths J. M. (1993). Protein determination in Basic Biochemical ethods 2nd edition John Willey and Sons Inc. Pp 28 – 29.

Ali, S. Sayed, A., Saker, RT and Akin, R (1991). Factors affecting cellulose production by Aspergilus terrus using water hyacinth. World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, 7(1), 62- 66.

Alokan, J. A. (1988). A note on Maize cob in sheep diet, Nigeria. Journal of Animal Produciton 15, 227 – 323.

Andriani, D., Praselya, B. and Park, D. (2011). Cellulase production by Bacillus subtilis. TD6 cultured on agricultural wastes. 33rd Symposium of Biotechnology, May 25, 2011. A Conference of the Society for Industrial Microbiology. Seattle, W.A. USA. Paper 18352.

Arnau, J., Yaver, D. and Hjort, C. M. (2020). Strategies and challenges for the development of industrial enzymes using fungal cell factories. In Grand Challenges in Fungal Biotechnology (pp. 179-210). Springer, Cham.

Baysal, Z., Uyar, F., Aytekin, C. (2003). Solid state fermentation for production of á-amylase by a thermotolerant Bacillus subtilis from hot spring water. Process Biochemistry, 38, 1665-1668.

Bhardwaj, N., Kumar, B., Agrawal, K. and Verma, P. (2021). Current perspective on production and applications of microbial cellulases: A review. Bioresources and Bioprocessing, 8(1), 1-34.

Dave, B. R., Parmar, P., Sudhir, A., Singal, N., & Subramanian, R. B. (2021). Cellulases production under solid state fermentation using agro waste as a substrate and its application in saccharification by Trametes hirsuta NCIM. Journal of Microbiology, Biotechnology and Food Sciences, 2021, 203-208.

Chadha, B.S., Kaur, B., Basotra, N., Tsang, A. and Pandey, A. (2019). Thermostable xylanases from thermophilic fungi and bacteria: Current perspective. Bioresource Technology. 277, 195–203.

Darwish, G. A., Bakr, A. A. and Abdallah, M. M. F. (2012). Nutritional value upgrading of maize stalk by using Pleurotus ostreatus and Saccharomyces cerevisiae in solid state fermentation. Annals of Agricultural Sciences, 57(1), 47-51.

Dong, X. Q., Yang, J. S., Zhu, N., Wang, E. T. and Yuan, H. L. (2013). Sugarcane bagasse degradation and characterization of three white-rot fungi. Bioresource Technology, 131, 443-451.

Ellaiah, P., Kunamneni, A., Bhavani, Y., Padmaja, P., and Srinivasulu, B. (2002). Optimization of process parameters for glucoamylase production under solid state fermentation by a newly isolated Aspergillus species. Process Biochemistry. 38, 615-620.

Grethlein, H. E. and Converse, A. O. (1991). Common aspects of acid prehydrolysis and steam explosion for pretreating wood. Bioresource Technology, 36(1), 77-82.

Hesseltine, C. W. 1983. Microbiology of oriental fermented foods. Annual Reviews of Microbiology, 37, 575-601.

Hueze, V., Tran, G., Eduard, N. and Lebs, F., (2017). Maize green forage. Feedipedia, a programme by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. www.feedipedia.org/node 358

Jun, H., Kieselbach, T. and Jönsson, L. J. (2011). Enzyme production by filamentous fungi: analysis of the secretome of Trichoderma reesei grown on unconventional carbon source. Microbial Cell Factories, 10(1), 1-10.

Keller A Fred, Jenny E. Hamilton, And Quang A. Nguyen (2003). Microbial Pretreatment of Biomass Potential for Reducing Severity of Thermochemical Biomass Pretreatment National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 1617 Cole Boulevard, Golden, CO 80401, Vol 105-108

Knežević, A., Milovanović, I., Stajić, M., Lončar, N., Brčeski, I., Vukojević, J. and Ćilerdžić, J. (2013). Lignin degradation by selected fungal species. Bioresource Technology, 138, 117-123.

Kossila, V. L. (1984). Location and potential feed use: In straw and other fibrous by-product as Feeds (Editors: F Sundstol and E. Owen). Elsevier, Amsterdam 2: 4-24.

Latifian, M., Hamidi-Esfahani, Z. and Barzegar, M. (2007) Evaluation of culture conditions for cellulase production by two Trichoderma reesie mutants under solid state fermentation conditions. Bioresource Technology, 98(18), 3634-3637.

Lonsane, B.K., N.P. Ghild, S. Budeatman and S.V. Kamakrishna (1985). Engineering aspects of solids state fermentation. Enzyme Microbiology and Technology, 7, 258-265.

Nguyen, Q. A. (1993) Economic analysis of integrating a biomass – to – ethanol plant into a pulp/saw mill. In saddler (eds) Bioconversion of forest and agricultural plants. CAB international, UK, pp 321-340.

Ogbonna, C. I. C. and Popoola, A. R. (1997). Biodegradation of maize straw by fungi for use as ruminant feed. Nigerian Journal of Biotechnology, 8(1), 46-56.

Ohnishi, Y., Nagase, M., Ichiyanagi, T., Kitamoto, Y. and Aimi, T. (2007). Transcriptional regulation of two endoglucanase-encoding genes (cel3A and cel4) from the wood-degrading basidiomycete Polyporus arcularius. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 274(2), 218-225.

Okafor, N. (1988). Industrial Microbiology. University of Ife Press Ltd. Ile-Ife, Nigeria 32-33.

Oladeji, J.T. (2010). Fuel characterization of briquettes produced form corncob and rice husk residues. The Pacific Journal of Science and Technology. 11, 101 – 106.

Osman, M. A. (2011). Effect of traditional fermentation process on the nutrient and antinutrient contents of pearl millet during preparation of Lohoh. Journal of the Saudi Society of Agricultural Sciences, 10(1), 1-6.

Østby, H., Hansen, L.D. and Horn, S.J. (2020). Enzymatic processing of lignocellulosic biomass: principles, recent advances and perspectives. Journal of Industrial Microbiology Biotechnology 47, (9-10), 623–657.

Pandey, A. (2003). “Solid state fermentation”. Biochemical Engineering Journal, 13, 81-84

Patel, H., Gupte, A. and Gupte, S. (2009). Effect of different culture conditions and inducers on production of laccase by a basidiomycete fungal isolate Pleurotus ostreatus HP-1 under solid state fermentation. BioResources, 4(1), 268-284.

Raimbault, M. and Alazard, D. (1980). Culture method to study fungal growth

in solid fermentation. European Journal of Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 9(3), 199-209.

Ramachandran, S., Patel, A. K., Nampoothiri, K. M., Francis, F., Nagy, V., Szakacs, G. and Pandey A. (2004). Coconut oil cake--a potential raw material for the production of alpha-amylase. Bioresource Technology. 93(2),169-74.

Ravindran, R., Hassan, S. S., Williams, G. A. and Jaiswal, A. K. (2018). A review on bioconversion of agro-industrial wastes to industrially important enzymes. Bioengineering (Basel, Switzerland), 5(4), 93. https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering5040093

Rodriguez-Leon, J., Soccol, C., Pandey, A. and Rodríguez-Fernández, D (2008). Factors Affecting Solid-state Fermentation. ‘Current Developments in Solid-state Fermentation’ pp.48-73 10.1007/978-0-387-75213-6.

Shankar, T. and Isaiarasu, L. (2011). Cellulase production by Bacillus pumilus EWBCM1 under varying cultural conditions. Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research, 8(1), 40-45.

Sodhi, H.K., Sharma, K., Gupta, J.K. and Soni, S.K. (2005). Production of a thermostable á-amylase from Bacillus sp. PS-7 by solid state and its synergistic use in the hydrolysis of malt starch for alcohol production. Process Biochemistry, 40(2), 525-534.

Stajic, M., Vukojevic, J. and Duletic´-Lauševic´, S. (2009). Biology of Pleurotus eryngii and role in biotechnological processes: a review. Critical Reviews in Biotechnology, 29(1), 55-66.

Sun, X., Zhang, R. & Zhang, Y. 2004 Production of lignocellulolytic enzymes by Trametes gallica and detection of polysaccharide hydrolase and laccase activities in polyacrylamide gels. Journal of Basic Microbiology 44, 220–231.

Sun, Y. and Cheng, J. (2002). Hydrolysis of lignocellulosic material from ethanol production: A review. Bioresource Technology. 83(1), 1 -11.

Suzuki, H., Igarashi, K. and Samejima, M. (2010). Cellotriose and cellotetraose as inducers of the genes encoding cellobiohydrolases in the basidiomycete Phanerochaete chrysosporium. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 76(18), 6164-6170.

Tiwari, Rameshwar & Nain, Lata & Labrou, Nikolaos & Shukla, Pratyoosh. (2017). Bioprospecting of functional cellulases from metagenome for second generation biofuel production: a review. Critical Reviews in Microbiology. 44. 1-14.

Ugwuanyi, J. O., Harvey, L. M. and McNeil, B. (2008). Protein enrichment of corn cob heteroxylan waste slurry by thermophilic aerobic digestion using Bacillus stearothermophilus. Bioresource Technology, 99(15), 6974-6985.

Wayman, M. and Chen, S. (1992). Cellulase production by Trichoderma reesei using whole wheat flour as a carbon source. Enzyme and Microbial Technology, 14(10), 825-831.

Wen, Z., Liao, W. and Chen, S. (2005) Production of cellulase/b-glucosidase by the mixed fungi culture Trichoderma reesei and Aspergillus phoenicis on dairy manure. Process Biochemistry, 40(9), 3087-3094.

Wonoputri, V., Subiantoro, Kresnowati, M.T.A.P., Purwadi, R. (2018). Solid state fer-

mentation parameters effect on cellulase production from empty fruit bunch. Bulletin of Chemical Reaction Engineering and Catalysis, 13 (3), 553-559.

Zakariashvili, N. G. and Elisashvili, V. I. (1993). Regulation of Cerrena unicolor lignocellulolytic activity by a nitrogen source in culture medium. Microbiology-Aibs-C/C of Mikrobiologiia, 62, 525-525.

Znameroski, E. A., Coradetti, S. T., Roche, C. M., Tsai, J. C., Iavarone, A. T., Cate, J. H. and Glass, N. L. (2012). Induction of lignocellulose-degrading enzymes in Neurospora crassa by cellodextrins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(16), 6012–6017.



How to Cite

Olagunju, A., Onyike, E. ., Ameh, D. A. ., Atawodi, S. E. ., & Salihu, A. . (2022). Enhanced Cellulase Production for Improved Degradation of Maize Cob: A Mixed-Fungal Fermentation. Nigerian Journal of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 37(3), 201–211. https://doi.org/10.2659/njbmb.2022.119



Research Articles