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Production of Pelleted Fungal Inocula for use in Fungal-Based Remediation of Contaminted Soil

Investigators
Lamar, Richard
Institutions
Earthfax Development Corporation
Start date
2002
End date
2002
Objective
As a result of the proposed work we expect to identify an economic method for sterilizing the pelleted lignocellulosic substrates and a method for fragmenting fungal biomass, produced in liquid culture, to produce hyphal fragments which will be applied in an alginate slurry to the surface of the pellets to allow development of a hyphal coat over the pellet surface.
More information
Fungal inocula are an important component of a soil bioaugmentation technology that relies on the pollutant-degrading abilities of white-rot wood decay (Bioremedy) fungi. Current inoculum production techniques are expensive and cumbersome. Preliminary work on a less expensive, technically superior inoculum formulation based on a pelleted lignocellulosic-based substrate covered with an active mycelial coat of a selected Bioremedy fungus, indicates that pelleted inocula are effective at supporting fungal colonization and pollutant degradation in soil and that they are potentially much less costly to produce than currently inoculum formulations. Equipment and supplies for three key steps in the pelleted inoculum production process require identification before a realistic economic analysis can be conducted. These steps include: pelleted substrate sterilization, fungal biomass fragmentation to produce hyphal fragments for pellet coating, and appropriate packaging to optimize uniform hyphal coat development on the pellets. The objective of the proposed work is to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of producing pelleted fungal inoculum, at the pilot scale.

As a result of the proposed work we expect to identify an economic method for sterilizing the pelleted lignocellulosic substrates and a method for fragmenting fungal biomass, produced in liquid culture, to produce hyphal fragments which will be applied in an alginate slurry to the surface of the pellets to allow development of a hyphal coat over the pellet surface. In addition, packaging that is robust enough to withstand handling and which is designed to allow uniform hyphal coat development during the grow-out phase will be identified. As a result, fungal-based remediation, an environmentally harmonious soil remediation alternative, will be technically improved and applied more inexpensively.

Project number
UTAK-2002-00219
Accession number
192228
Categories
Mycotoxins
Chemical Contaminants