1.1 Background of study
Palm oil processing was carried out using large quantities of water in mills where oil is extracted from the palm fruits. During the extraction of crude palm oil from the fresh fruits, about 50% of the water results in palm oil mill effluent (POME). It is estimated that for 1 tonne of crude palm oil produced, 5 - 7.5 tonnes of water ends up as POME (Ahmad et al., 2003). The solid waste products that result from the milling operation are empty fruit bunches, palm fibre, and palm kernel. In both traditional and modern milling settings, these solid waste products are all put to economically useful purposes such as fuel material and mulch in agriculture. It is the POME that is usually discharged into the environment enzymes are distinct biological polymers that catalyze the chemical reactions and convert substrates to particular products (Haq et al., 2006). Xylanase have gained a unique place in the biotechnological sector due to their potential application in palm oil mill effluent industry (Kirk and Jefferies, 1996), food and feed industry (Bhat, 2000), textile industry (Csiszár et al., 2001) and Biofuel production (Goldschmidt, 2008). Xylanases constitute one of the most important industrial enzymes that depolymerizes xylan molecule into xylose units (Garg et al., 2011). The production of enzymes generally depends on variety of growth parameters like inoculum size, pH value, temperature, inducers, medium additives, aeration, growth and time (Immanuel et al., 2006) and also the enzyme activities depend on the presence of various metal ions as activators and inhibitors (Muhammad et al., 2012). Enzymes have various applications different industries.
The major industrial applications of enzymes are in textile industry for‘bioEndo-1, 4-β-D-xylanases (E.C.188.8.131.52) are hemicellulases accountable for random cleavage of the xylan backbone, thus, are industrially significant. (Zhou et al., 2008). Among the microbial sources, filamentous fungi are particularly interesting since they secrete these enzymes into the medium and have high xylanase activity in contrast to yeasts and bacteria (Krisana et al., 2005). This feature makes fungal xylanases attractive to be used in various industrial processes hence, fungi are highly diverse in nature; they have been recognized as a target for screening to find out the appropriate source of enzymes with constructive and novel characteristics (Bakri et al., 2010).
1.2 JUSTIFICATION OF THIS STUDY
Xylanases are hydrolases which depolymerise the plant cell wall component-xylan, the second most abundant polysaccharide. They are mainly produced by microorganisms but can also be found in plants, marine algae, protozoans, crustaceans, insects, and snails. Because of their ability to break down xylan, these enzymes especially of microbial origin, have attracted more attention due to their potential role in pulping and bleaching processes, in food and feed industry, textile processes and organic waste treatment. Xylanases are more suitable in paper and pulp industry than lignin degrading enzymes. Owing to the increasing biotechnological importance of thermostable xylanases, many potential thermophilic and hyperthermophilic have been identified. As tolerance to higher pH and temperature are desirable properties of xylanase for effective use in pulp treatment, thermophillic organisms are of special interest as a source of novel thermostable xylanases. But for large scale production of xylanases, reduction of cost is still very challenging. This work will assay the potentiality and activity of xylanolytic fungi on palm oil mill effluent.
1.3 AIM OF STUDY
The major aim of this project is to isolate fungi producing xylanase using palm oil mill effluent.
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The specific objectives are:
1 .To isolate fungi from palm oil mill effluent using Potato Dextrose Agar
2. To identify the morphological characteristics of fungal isolates produced
3. To screen for xylanase production by fungal isolates using congo red
4. To demonstrate the biodegradation of POME by fungi producing xylanase from palm oil mill effluent.