PRODUCTION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF CELLULOLYTIC ENZYMES BY ASPERGILLUS NIGER AND RHIZOPUS SP. BY SOLID STATE FERMENTATION OF PRICKLY PEAR
ABSTRACT: Prickly palm cactus husk was used as a solid-state fermentation support substrate for the production of cellulolytic enzymes using Aspergillus niger and Rhizopus sp. A Box-Behnken design was used to evaluate the effects of water activity, fermentation time and temperature on endoglucanase and total cellulase production. Response Surface Methodology showed that optimum conditions for endoglucanase production were achieved at after 70.35 h of fermentation at 29.56°C and a water activity of 0.875 for Aspergillus niger and after 68.12 h at 30.41°C for Rhizopus sp. Optimum conditions for total cellulase production were achieved after 74.27 h of fermentation at 31.22°C for Aspergillus niger and after 72.48 h and 27.86°C for Rhizopus sp. Water activity had a significant effect on Aspergillus niger endoglucanase production only. In industrial applications, enzymatic characterization is important for optimizing variables such as temperature and pH. In this study we showed that endoglucanase and total cellulase had a high level of thermostability and pH stability in all the enzymatic extracts. Enzymatic deactivation kinetic experiments indicated that the enzymes remained active after the freezing of the crude extract. Based on the results, bioconversion of cactus is an excellent alternative for the production of thermostable enzymes.