Citric acid production by Aspergillus niger on wet corn distillers grains

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AimsTo determine which citric acid-producing strain of Aspergillus niger utilized wet corn distillers grains most effectively to produce citric acid.Methods and ResultsCitric acid and biomass production by the fungal strains were analysed on the untreated grains or autoclaved grains using an enzyme assay and a gravimetric method respectively. Fungal citric acid production on the grains was found to occur on the untreated or autoclaved grains. The highest citric acid level on the grains was produced by A. niger ATCC 9142. The autoclaved grains supported less citric acid production by the majority of strains screened. Biomass production by the fungal strains on the untreated or autoclaved grains was quite similar. The highest citric acid yields for A. niger ATCC 9142, ATCC 10577, ATCC 11414, ATCC 12846 and ATCC 26550 were found on the untreated grains. Treatment of the grains had little effect on citric acid yields based on reducing sugars consumed by A. niger ATCC 9029 and ATCC 201122.ConclusionsIt is feasible for citric acid-producing strains of A. niger to excrete citric acid on wet corn distillers grains whether the grains are treated or untreated. The most effective citric acid-producing strain of A. niger was ATCC 9142.Significance and Impact of the StudyThe study shows that the ethanol processing co-product wet corn distillers grains could be utilized as a substrate for the commercial production of citric acid by A. niger without treatment of the grains.

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