Biofibre from Agricultural Wastes: Bio Bleaching of Banana Fibre using Microbial Enzymes
Pectinases and Xylanases are group of enzymes which cause degradation of pectin and xylan respectively. In the present study micro organisms were screened for pectinolytic and xylanolytic properties, their enzyme activity were compared and degumming (bio bleaching) of bio fibre (banana fibre) was carried out with crude enzyme. Out of 17 strains screened, two standard strains of Aspergillus niger and Trichoderma harzianum and two endophytic fungal isolates (RM-L,RM-S,) were taken for pectinase (polygalacturonase) production based on the clear zone produced in pectin agar .Only Aspergillus niger and Trichoderma harzianum could give clear zone in xylan agar. All the four selected strains exhibited maximum pectinase activity during 96hrs of submerged fermentation. Maximum xylanase activity was exhibited by the selected strains during 72 hrs. The xylanase producers exhibited very low cellulase activity demonstrating that they can be sourced for cellulase free xylanase production. The effectiveness of these enzymes in the degumming of banana fibre was confirmed by the gradual increase in the level of reducing sugar during the treatment of banana fibre with crude enzymes. SEM micrographs also revealed a marked difference between the enzyme treated banana fibre and the control. Further research is needed to optimize enzyme dose and duration of treatment, and also to study the various applications of the bio bleached fibres.