The high cost of cellulases remains the most significant barrier to the economical production of bio-ethanol from lignocellulosic biomass. The goal of this study was to optimize cellulases and xylanase production by a local indigenous fungus strain (Aspergillus niger DWA8) using agricultural waste (oil palm frond [OPF]) as substrate. The enzyme production profile before optimization indicated that the highest carboxymethyl cellulose (CMCase), filter paper (FPase), and xylanase activities of 1.06 U/g, 2.55 U/g, and 2.93 U/g were obtained on day 5, day 4, and day 5 of fermentation, respectively. Response surface methodology was used to study the effects of several key process parameters in order to optimize cellulase production. Of the five physical and two chemical factors tested, only moisture content of 75% (w/w) and substrate amount of 2.5 g had statistically significant effect on enzymes production. Under optimized conditions of 2.5 g of substrate, 75% (w/w) moisture content, initial medium of pH 4.5, 1 × 106 spores/mL of inoculum, and incubation at ambient temperature (±30°C) without additional carbon and nitrogen, the highest CMCase, FPase, and xylanase activities obtained were 2.38 U/g, 2.47 U/g, and 5.23 U/g, respectively. Thus, the optimization process increased CMCase and xylanase production by 124.5 and 78.5%, respectively. Moreover, A. niger DWA8 produced reasonably good cellulase and xylanase titers using OPF as the substrate when compared with previous researcher finding. The enzymes produced by this process could be further use to hydrolyze biomass to generate reducing sugars, which are the feedstock for bioethanol production.
Keywords: Aspergillus niger; cellulases; oil palm frond; response surface methodology; xylanase.
© 2019 American Institute of Chemical Engineers.