The application of solid-state fermentation offers an alternative to
conventional, submerged approaches for a variety of bioconversion processes,
including animal feeds, biofuels and fungal bioproducts. Optimizing solid-state
fermentation under low moisture conditions could significantly impact the
proportion of dry biomass that could be processed and improve the
commercial viability of this approach, because of reduced input costs and
higher yields of final products. Pleurotus erygnii that appeared to show
tolerance to low moisture conditions was grown on saturated and desaturated
wheat straw. Pleurotus erygnii showed insignificant fibre degradation although
showed significantly lower biomass decomposition on desaturated wheat straw.
Fibre decomposition by the fungus on wheat straw containing wheat bran
showed marginally higher decomposition when saturated although there was
no difference in biomass decomposition. The levels of delignification achieved
were similar under different saturation conditions. It would appear that the
fungus effectively decomposed fibre under low moisture conditions often
resulting in lower biomass losses.