Shahad G. Alnuaimi and Lina F. Yousef
Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Isolating fungi from saline environments and screening their enzymes for cellulase activity could provide a solution for the enzymatic efficiency encountered by the bioethanol industry. An environment suitable for research is the sediment of mangrove forests in Abu Dhabi because it receives a continuous input of cellulosic carbon in the form of litter for decomposition by fungi. Furthermore, the mangrove environment in Abu Dhabi is characterized by high temperatures and salinities, which also lead us to suspect that fungi indigenous to these sediments exhibit unique qualities and harbor enzymes that enable them to tolerate the relatively harsh conditions of this environment. A fungal isolate that was isolated from the mangrove sediments showed heterotrophic growth when cellulose was used as a sole source of carbon. This suggests that this organism is producing cellulases that are breaking down cellulose to glucose to support its growth. In this study, growth, cellulolytic activity and extracellular protein profile of this organism when grown using different carbon substrates was evaluated.
Keywords: Bioenergy, cellulose, fungi, mangrove, biomass.