The Production of Itaconic Acid from Sweet Potato Peel Using Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus terreus


1University of Ilorin, Faculty of Life Sciences, Department of Microbiology, P.M.B 1515 Ilorin, Nigeria

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Accumulation of large quantities of agricultural residues results in deterioration of the environment and biomass loss which could be processed to yield value-added products like fuels and a variety of acids. The quest for a solution led to the fermentation of Ipomoea batatas using fungi. Aspergillus niger  (ATCC 16404) and Aspergillus terreus (ATCC 20542) were used to ferment sweet potato peel (SPP), an agro-based waste. The physico-chemical analysis of the SPP was carried out. SPP was dried, ground, pre-treated with alkali and steam, re-dried and used as substrate in media containing mineral salt medium and inocula of A. niger and A. terreus. Fermentation was submerged at pH 5.0; 10% substrate concentration; 10 mL inocula size; temperature 250C for five days with carboxylmethylcellulose (CMC) as control. Optimization experiments were conducted by varying fermentation parameters. Results of physico-chemical analysis revealed carbohydrate 65.9%; sugars 22.60%; protein 5.38%; fibre 3.48%; fat 4.0% ash 4.02% and moisture 8.13%. Itaconic acid yield of 67.67+1.20 mg mL-1 and 70.67+2.60 mg mL-1  produced by A. niger and A. terreus from SPP respectively. The CMC  yielded 3.00 +0.6 mg mL-1. Results of the optimization experiments showed higher yields of itaconic acid by A. niger and A. terreus to 112.67+5.20 mg mL-1 and 115.67+5.30 mg mL-1from SPP respectively at pH 4.0; 10% substrate concentration; 5 mL inocula size on Day-5 of the fermentation. This represented an increase in product yield by both organisms and supports the potential use of this waste for the industrial production of itaconic acid.

Keywords: Itaconic acid, Sweet-potato, Aspergillus terreus, Aspergillus niger.

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