Immobilization of filamentous fungi with potential for agribusiness

Cellular immobilization represents an alternative for the bioprocess conduction, in which the cells are kept in a matrix and can be used over long periods. The objective of this work was to test a new fungi immobilization methodology with reduced cost to evaluate the viability of these fungi when submitted to the new encapsulation method, and to determine the ideal temperature to store the immobilized fungi. The mycelium of the fungi Aspergillus niger, Cladosporium cladosporioidesand Penicillium solitum were mixed with 15 g of titrated rice and 3 g of sodium alginate, which was dripped in a 0.25 M calcium chloride solution for the formation of pellets. After drying in an oven at 26ºC, the granules were stored at three temperatures: room, refrigerator and freezer. The platings were carried out every 15 days in culture medium. The evaluations of the colony size and sporulation were carried out 7, 14 and 12 days after plating, for 195 days for A. niger, 225 days for C. cladosporioides,and 210 days for P. solitum.Storage temperature did not affect the mycelial development of A. niger and P. solitum. However, sporulation was reduced for the granules stored in the freezer. The mycelial development of C. cladosporioides was influenced by temperature. The granules conserved at room temperature had lower viability than those stored in the refrigerator and freezer. In the Scanning Electronic Microscopy analysis, it was observed that the immobilization is a safe method in which the fungus mycelium remains inside the granule, facilitating transport, storage and application of micro-organisms.