EFFECT OF SOLID STATE FERMENTATION ON NUTRITIONAL CONTENT AND EVALUATION OF DEGRADABILITY IN CACTUS PEAR

ABSTRACT: The process of protein enrichment of cactus pear (Nopalea cochenillifera (L.) Salm Dyck by solid state fermentation with the use of Aspergillus niger and Rhyzopus sp. was studied for improving the nutritional value of this cactus species for use as animal feed. The experiments were conducted in the Agro-industrial Waste Laboratory of State University of Southwest Bahia (Brazil). To this end, we have evaluated the effects of biotransformation on the levels of protein, cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, as well as the potential degradability. Bioconversion was carried out using cactus pear as the only substrate, without supplementation with nitrogen, mineral and vitamin sources. The fermentation with Aspergillus niger promoted a 78% increase in/of protein content and reductions of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin of 40%, 36%, and 28%, respectively. Degradability, in turn, was observed to have increased by 66 % after 240 h. On the other hand, the fermentation with Rhyzopus sp. was less efficient, with a 69% increase in protein content, and reductions in cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin contents of 30%, 28%, and 18%. In turn, degradability was seen to have increased by 51%. The fermentation of cactus pear by Aspergillus niger and Rhyzopus sp. exhibited the protein enrichment and increased protein degradability of this Cactaceae. Moreover, this is the most ever efficient micro-organism used in bioconversion. Based on the results, bioconversion of cactus is an excellent alternative to ruminant feeding in arid or semi-arid land.