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IIT Madras identifies eco-friendly process to turn agricultural waste into industrial enzymes

The wheat barn was found to be the most effective substrate followed by sago waste and rice barn
Last Updated : 06 July 2022, 04:07 IST
Last Updated : 06 July 2022, 04:07 IST
Last Updated : 06 July 2022, 04:07 IST
Last Updated : 06 July 2022, 04:07 IST

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Researchers of Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) have identified a bacterium that can turn agricultural waste into industrial enzymes through a cost-effective and environment-friendly process.

The research team studied how a bacteria called ‘Bacillus sp PM06’ can aid in producing industrial enzymes and value-added products from agricultural waste. The research comes amid a renewed interest to make use of agricultural waste to produce industrial enzymes and second-generation ethanol as an alternative fuel source.

The wheat bran was found to be the most effective substrate followed by sago waste and rice bran.

The findings of the study, conducted by Prof Sathyanarayana N Gummadi, faculty of the Department of Biotechnology, IIT-M and Rekha Rajesh, Research Scholar, IIT M, have been published in the reputed peer-reviewed journal Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery.

"The organism which was isolated has a fermentation capacity to hydrolyse very low-cost lignocellulosic wastes without pre-treatment, thus reducing the cost of bioprocess for production of enzymes and industrial metabolites," Prof Gummadi said.

He said, "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. Many researchers are focused on isolating single microorganisms producing multiple enzymes to solve the issues."

“But, IIT Madras researchers are successful in isolating a novel strain from sugarcane pressmud,” the professor added.

"The study demonstrated simultaneous saccharification and fermentation of different agro residues by a single novel organism," IIT-M said, adding that the research is unique because it takes a sustainable and environmentally friendly approach, producing renewable biofuels.

The institute said the study is of great relevance as it works on the principles of biomass-based biorefineries, which offer potential benefits for energy and environmental sustainability

“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,” the institute added.

The three main agricultural residues are wheat bran, sago waste, and rice bran which are inexpensive and have a high potential to produce industrial enzymes. However, the complex structure of these residues makes it difficult to hydrolyze the enzymes. The pre-treatment process that is required to do the same is also costly.

“Thus, the researchers studied the bacteria, Bacillus sp PM06, which was isolated from sugarcane waste press mud. This bacterium helped in the production of industrial enzymes and value-added products from agricultural waste. The wheat bran was found to be the most effective substrate followed by sago waste and rice bran. In addition, this process was cost-effective and environment-friendly,” the IIT-M added.

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Published 04 July 2022, 15:30 IST

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