The design of new food products and increased agricultural activities have produced a diversity of waste streams or by-products that contain a high load of organic matter. The underutilization of these streams presents a serious threat to the environment and to the financial viability of the agricultural sector and the food industry. Oleaginous microorganisms, such as yeast and microalgae, have been used to convert the organic matter present in many agricultural waste streams into an oil-rich biomass. Filamentous fungi are promising oleaginous microorganisms because of their high lipid accumulation potential and simple biomass recovery, the latter being related to their pellet-like growth morphology in submerged cultivation. This review highlights the use of oleaginous filamentous fungi to convert food by-products into value-added components, including the effect of cultivation conditions on biomass yield and composition. Special attention is given to downstream processing for the commercial production of fungal oil. Also discussed are innovative techniques to optimize the biomass oil yield and to minimize the challenges associated with biomass harvesting and oil extraction at industrial scale.
Keywords: by-products; downstream processing; fermentation; filamentous fungi; oil extraction.