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Technological advances and mechanistic basis for fungal biopulping

Enzyme and Microbial Technology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.enzmictec.2007.10.002
  • Wood Biodegradation
  • Biopulping
  • Lignin
  • Cellulose
  • Pulp And Paper
  • Manganese-Peroxidase


Abstract Biopulping fundamentals, technology and mechanisms are reviewed in this article. Mill evaluation of Eucalyptus grandis wood chips biotreated by Ceriporiopsis subvermispora on a 50-tonne pilot-plant demonstrated that equivalent energy savings can be obtained in lab- and mill-scale biopulping. Some drawbacks concerning limited improvements in pulp strength and contamination of the chip pile with opportunist fungi have been observed. The use of pre-cultured wood chips as inoculum seed for the biotreatment process minimized contamination problems related to the use of blended mycelium and corn-steep liquor in the inoculation step. Alkaline wash restored part of the brightness in biopulps and marketable brightness values were obtained by one-stage bleaching with 5% H 2O 2 when bio-TMP pulps were under evaluation. Considering the current scenario, the understanding of biopulping mechanisms has gained renewed attention because more resistant and competitive fungal species could be selected with basis on a function-directed screening project. A series of studies aimed to elucidate structural changes in lignin during wood biodegradation by C. subvermispora had indicated that lignin depolymerization occurs during initial stages of wood biotreatment. Aromatic hydroxyls did not increase with the split of aryl-ether linkages, suggesting that the ether-cleavage-products remain as quinone-type structures. On the other hand, cellulose is more resistant to the attack by C. subvermispora. MnP-initiated lipid peroxidation reactions have been proposed to explain degradation of non-phenolic lignin substructures by C. subvermispora, while the lack of cellobiohydrolases and the occurrence of systems able to suppress Fenton's reaction in the cultures have explained non-efficient cellulose degradation by this biopulping fungus.

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