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Distiller’s grains, an important commodity in the feed and food chains, are currently underdosed in rations due to several factors, mainly nutrient imbalance. This study aimed to increase the linoleic acid content in distiller’s grains and decrease the excess nutrients in stillage water by the use of an artificial lichen, composed of fungi, algae, and a supporting matrix. A maximum concentration of 46.25% of linoleic acid in distiller’s grains was achieved with a combination of Mucor indicus and Chlorella vulgaris using corn-to-ethanol whole stillage as substrate. Microbial hydrolytic enzymes during fermentation were able to decrease the solids in whole stillage. Nitrogen depletion by microalgal uptake causes lipid-formation stress to Mucor indicus cells, increasing linoleic acid production to about 49% of the total lipids, potentially decreasing costs in the animal feed. The culture supernatant can potentially be recycled as process water to the ethanol fermentation tank, and enhanced distiller’s grains can replace animal-specific diets. This would reduce exogenous enzyme use and supplementation of unsaturated fatty acids from other sources.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: The researchers were funded by Brazilian CAPES SwB program (grant number 13252/13-5), to FAPESP (Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo—grant numbers 2017/12908-8 and 2016/10636-8), to University of Minnesota–MnDRIVE (GFV and UMII), and to Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR)-Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.
- Chlorella vulgaris
- Distiller’s grains
- Mucor indicus