Microbial Upgrading of Cellulose-Based Materials

  • Mahendra K. Bery

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The main objective of the research was to develop and
design a process for the microbial upgrading of cellulosic waste
materials by solid substrate fermentation to produce a protein rich
animal feed-stuff,

A large number of fungi wer2 tested for their cellulolytic
activity and their ability to produce protein when grown on the
selected raw material: barley-straw. Both mono and mixed cultures
were used either in single-or multi-stage fermentation systems. As
a result of this work a single-stage, mixed culture (cellulolytic
and non cellulolytic) system operating in the thermophilic range wa3
selected for more detailed work.

The optimum carbon to nitrogen ratio for growth and protein
production was established, The effect of different raw material
treatments (Ball milling) on fungal growth was also examined but no
improvements were achieved. Preliminary feeding trials indicated
that the end-product was acceptable and non-toxic to mice.

The detailed design of a plant to treat 1,000 tons of straw
per year was carried out. This design work highlighted a number of
biological and process engineering problems, including:-
1. maintenance of sterile conditions
2. maintenance of uniform aeration,
3. temperature control,
4, recirculation and usage of nutrient salt solution,
5. removal and transport of fungal material by the
salt solutions, and
6. process start up.

An attempt was made to develop preliminary models for microbial
growth on solid substrates under therraophilic, isothermal conditions.
Finally an economic feasibility study was carried out. This involved
estimation of capital costs, operating costs, cost of end-product, and
a cost comparison with existing; competing products,
Date of Award1972
Original languageEnglish


  • Microbial upgrading
  • cellulose-based materials

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