Metarhizium anisopliae conidia production in packed-bed bioreactor using rice as substrate in successive cultivations
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This paper presents a study on scale-up and cost reduction of the production of spores of Metarhizium anisopliae IBCB 425, entomopathogenic fungus used in sugarcane crops. Rice was mixed with sugarcane bagasse (9:1 w/w) for substrate composition, assuring adequate physical structure for cultivation in packed-beds. Spores yield from only rice in bench-scale packed-bed bioreactor was 56 % of the one obtained from the mixture 9:1 w/w. In comparison to plastic packages used in bioindustries, equivalent spores yields per gram of substrate have been achieved in bench and pilot-scale bioreactors built by cylindrical jacketed modules, that provide better control of operational and environmental variables, attested by little variability among replicates. Although non-negligible temperature rise (5 °C above the ideal) occurred within the pilot-scale bioreactor, spores production was not harmed in comparison to bench-scale. By reusing rice up to three successive cultivations, a 2.5-fold increase of spores yields was achieved in comparison to single use. Temperatures and CO2 profiles corroborates the fungus adapted differently to substrate at each usage. Such results are valuable for industrial producers of commercial formulations of the fungus spores, allowing process modernization by using packed-bed bioreactors and production costs and rice demand reduction by recycling the substrate.