R. M. Baiguera


2 Wood Decay Fungal Strains Useful for Bio-Composite Material Production

Authors: C. Girometta, R. M. Baiguera, A. M. Picco, E. Savino, S. Babbini, D. S. Branciforti, M. Cartabia, D. Dondi, M. Pellegrini


Interest on wood decay fungi (WDF) has been increasing in the last year's thanks to the potentiality of this kind of fungi; research on new WDF strains has increased as well thus pointing out the key role of the culture collections. One of the most recent biotechnological application of WDF is the development of novel materials from natural or recycled resources. Based on different combinations of fungal species, substrate, and processing treatment involved (e.g. heat pressing), it is possible to achieve a wide variety of materials with different features useful for many industrial applications: from packaging to thermal and acoustic insulation. In comparison with the conventional ones, these materials represent a 100% natural and compostable alternative involving low amounts of energy in the production process. The purpose of the present work was to isolate and select WDF strains able to colonize and degrade different plant wastes thus producing a fungal biomass shapeable to achieve bio-composite materials. Strains were selected within the mycological culture collection of Pavia University (MicUNIPV, over 300 strains of WDF). The selected strains have been investigated with regards their ability to colonize and degrade plant residues from the local major cultivations (e.g. poplar, alfalfa, maize, rice, and wheat) and produce the fungal biomass. The degradation of the substrate was assessed by Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). Chemical characterization confirmed that TGA and FTIR are complementary techniques able to provide quality-quantitative information on compositional and structural variation that occurs during the transformation from the substrate to the bio-composite material. This pilot study provides a fundamental step to tune further applications in fungus-residues composite biomaterials.

Keywords: Sustainable Materials, lignocellulosic residues, wood decay fungi, bio-composite material

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1 Preliminary Characterization of Hericium Species Sampled in Tuscany, Italy

Authors: V. Cesaroni, C. Girometta, A. Bernicchia, M. Brusoni, F. Corana, R. M. Baiguera, C. M. Cusaro, M. L. Guglielminetti, B. Mannucci, H. Kawagishi, C. Perini, A. M. Picco, P. Rossi, E. Salerni, E. Savino


Fungi of the genus Hericium contain various compounds with antibacterial activity, cytotoxic effect on cancer cells and bioactive molecules. Some of the active metabolites stimulate the synthesis of the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). Recently, the effect of dietary supplement based on Hericium erinaceus on recognition memory and on hippocampal mossy fiber-CA3 neurotransmission was published. The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of Hericium species on Italian territory in order to isolate the strains for further studies and applications. The first step was to collect Hericium sporophores in Tuscany: H. alpestre Pers., H. coralloides (Scop.) Pers. and H. erinaceus (Bull.) Pers. were the species present. The strains of H. alpestre (H.a.1), H. coralloides (H.c.1) and H. erinaceus (H.e.1 & H.e.2) have been isolated in pure culture and preserved in the collection of the University of Pavia (MicUNIPV). The DNA sequences obtained from the strains were compared to other sequences found in international databases. Therefore, it was possible to construct a phylogenetic tree that highlights the clear separation in clades of the sequences and the molecular identification of our strains with the species of Hericium considered. The second step was to cultivate indoor and outdoor H. erinaceus in order to obtain as many sporophores as possible for further chemical analysis. All the procedures for H. erinaceus cultivation have been followed. Among the available recipes for indoor H. erinaceus cultivation, it was used a substrate formulation contained 70% oak sawdust, 20% rice bran, 10% wheat straw, 1% CaCO3 and 1% sucrose. The bioactive compounds present in the mycelia and in the sporophores of H. erinaceus were chemically analyzed in collaboration with the Centro Grandi Strumenti of the University of Pavia using high-performance liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC/ESI-MS/MS). The materials to be analyzed were previously freeze-dried and then extracted with an alcoholic procedure. Preliminary chromatographic analysis revealed the presence of potentially bioactive and structurally different secondary metabolites such as polysaccharides, erinacins, ericenones, steroids and other terpenoids. Ericenones C and D (in sporophores) and erinacin A (in mycelium) have been identified by comparison with the respective standards. These molecules are known to have effects on the Central Nervous System (CNS) cells, which is the main objective of our studies. Thanks to the high sensitivity in the detection of bioactive compounds of H. erinaceus, it will be possible to use the To obtain lyophilized mycelium and the respective culture broth, 4 small pieces (about 5 mm2) of the respective H.e.1 or H.c.1 strains, taken from the margin of growing cultures (MEA), were inoculated into 1 liter of 2% ME (malt extract, Biokar Diagnostics). The static liquid cultures were kept at 24 °C in the dark chamber and fungi grew for one month. 10 replicates for each strain have been done. The method proposed as an analytical screening protocol to determine the optimal growth conditions of the fungus and to improve the production chain of H. erinaceus. These results encourage to carry out chemical analyzes also on H. alpestre and H. coralloides in order to evaluate the presence of bioactive compounds in these two species.

Keywords: Medicinal Mushrooms, Hericium species, Hercium erinaceus bioactive compounds, mushroom cultivation

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