Cassava peels are rich in lignocellulolytic materials which are not readily amenable to enzymatic hydrolysis; hence, there is a need for a suitable pretreatment method that will support enzymatic hydrolysis. This study was designed to investigate lignocellulolytic organisms that would effectively support the bioconversion of organosolv pretreated cassava peels to fermentable sugars. Decaying cassava peels were collected into sterile bottles and microorganisms isolated, characterized and screened for lignocellulolytic enzymes production. Optimum temperature, pH and nutrient sources for enzyme production were determined. Organosolv pretreatment was carried out using methanol with varied concentration of catalyst (0.01 – 3 M), reaction time (15 – 60 min) and substrate size. Crude enzymes (cellulase and xylanase) from the isolates were added to the pretreated peels and bioconversion was monitored by measuring the concentration of reducing sugar and calculating the percentage peel hydrolysis. The fermentable sugars produced were quantified using gas chromatography. Pseudomonas fluorescens and Aspergillus terreus were isolated. P. fluorescens produces 2.8 u/mL of crude enzymes optimally at 50°C and pH 8 while A. terreus produces 3.4 u/mL optimally at 40°C, pH 6. Both isolates utilizes CarboxyMethylCellulose (CMC) and yeast extract as their best carbon and nitrogen sources. Highest percentage of peel hydrolysis was 67% for P. fluorescens at 0.01 M and 0.05 M for A. terreus (94%). Highest concentration of fermentable sugar was produced by A. terreus crude enzyme (331.79 mg/L glucose, 45.3 mg/L rhamnose and 46.52 mg/L xylose). P. fluorescens and A. terreus effectively supported the bioconversion of organosolv pretreated cassava peels to fermentable sugars.
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