CHENNAI: Indian Institute of Technology Madras researchers have identified a bacterium that can turn agricultural waste into industrial enzymes through a cost-effective and environment-friendly process.
Industrial enzymes such as alpha-amylase and cellulase are in high demand in various industries that deal with textiles, paper, detergents, and pharmaceuticals.
The IIT Madras researchers studied how a bacteria called ‘Bacillus sp PM06’ can aid in producing industrial enzymes and value-added products from agricultural waste.
Highlighting the key applications of the research, Prof. Sathyanarayana N Gummadi, said, “The organism which we have isolated has a fermentation capacity to hydrolyze very low-cost lignocellulosic wastes without pre-treatment, thus reducing the cost of bioprocess for production of enzymes and industrial metabolites.”
“The most challenging aspect of bioconversion is the development of a one-step process which includes pre-treatment, enzyme hydrolysis and microbial fermentation thus minimizing environmental impact,” he said adding that many researchers are focused on isolating single microorganism producing multiple enzymes to solve the issues but IIT Madras researchers are successful in isolating a novel strain from sugarcane pressmud.
According to him, the unique aspects of this research are the study demonstrated simultaneous saccharification and fermentation of different agro residues by a single novel organism and it takes a sustainable and environmentally friendly approach, producing renewable biofuels. “This study is of great relevance as it works on the principles of biomass-based biorefineries, which offer potential benefits for energy and environmental sustainability,” he added.
Every year nearly 100 to 150 tonnes of biomass are produced. Recently, there is a high interest worldwide to make use of agricultural waste to produce industrial enzymes and second-generation ethanol as an alternative fuel source.