Filamentous Fungi Based Industrial Waste Management : A Brazilian Outlook

The fungal community is very diverse and comprises yeasts, mushrooms, and filamentous fungi. The benefits and versatility of edible filamentous fungi in several industrial applications, and as a consequence, the large variety of useful products (such as organic acids, proteins, enzymes, medicines, food, beverages, biofuel, and biofertilizers), combined with their inherent ability of fast and robust growing rates, being capable of growing on industrial waste materials at cost effective conditions, make them the ideal candidates to promote industrial development without compromising sustainability.

The usage of fungi in fermentation processes and also its use directly as food dates back to the civilizations that existed thousands of years before. More recently, with the advent of modern industries and the development of microbiology, the fungal research and technology continues to grow and, year by year, the number of useful filamentous fungi strains keeps increasing. The importance of using filamentous fungi both for economic and environmental reasons has already been recognized by major companies such as BASF, DSM, DuPont, Novozymes, and other global leaders, which are already using this type of fungus.

 

Brazil is a continental country with a great number of business opportunities and industrial segments, which are economically representative for local trade and consumption and also for exportation. The brief Brazilian market research explained in this report provides information on some of the segments that could benefit from the use of filamentous fungi.  

 

Animal feed industry

According to the 2017 December’s report from Brazilian Sindirações, the total feed production of 68.6 million tons is predicted for 2017, representing a 2% increase when compared to 2016. There will be an increase of the feed production for the segments of birds, swine, and cattle. The highlights are the “cats & dogs” segment (pet food) which will grow more than 3%, and the aquaculture segment which is expected to grow 7.4%.

 

Food and beverage industries

The importance of Brazilian agriculture both for internal consumption and worldwide exportation is well known. One example of great fungal application is the cassava processing, which includes the production of flours and starch that are used in a variety of industries (e.g. food, medicine, and ethanol). Brazil is one of the top 4 major producing countries and produces 8% of the world output cassava.

Another interesting application is the Brazilian dairy industry, which generates a variety of products, such as milk, cheese, yogurt, powder milk, sweetened condensed milk, and butter. The market suffered from the recent economic crisis, but it is expected to recover and dairy production should increase by 1.8% in 2018. From January to September 2017, 43% of sweetened condensed milk (US$ 50 million) and 15% of milk powder (US$ 14 million) were destined to exports. In addition, it has been recently announced that Brazil received the International Health Certificate allowing the exports of milk and dairy products to Japan, which is the world’s seventh largest consumer of dairy products.

There are also opportunities in the brewery industry and in the “cachaça” industry (the latter consists of a typical Brazilian distilled beverage made from fermented sugarcane).

Brazil is the third major producer of beer (13.8 billion liters/year) and, in the last decade, there was a 5% increase of beer consumption. In addition, there are a number of craft beer industries that are growing and this segment presented an annual evolution of 20%. We now have craft beer industries that already produce up to 120.000 liters of special beer/month. Regarding the “cachaça” market, the Brazilian Institute of Cachaça reported (February, 2017) a production of 800 million liters/year. The market contains informal and formal producers, with the latter representing 2.000 companies. In 2016, the revenue generated from exports was US$ 13.9 million (increase of 4.6%). These segments generate industrial residues that possess very interesting characteristics for our fungal growth. The companies willing to diversify their waste management policies should embrace our clean-tech solutions to generate new revenue streams.

 

Paper and pulp industry

Brazil is one of the major global players in this industry. According to the 2017 Report of Brazilian Tree Industry, of the total of 7.84 million hectares of trees planted in Brazil in 2016, the companies from the pulp and paper industry held 34%. There was a pulp production of 18.8 million tons; an increase of 8.1% when compared to 2015, and 69% of this production was exported. Brazil now holds the second position in the ranking of main global producers of pulp. The total paper production was 10.3 million tons, putting Brazil in the eighth position of the main producers of the world. The exports represented 20% of this total amount.

 

The industrial processes of each aforementioned segment present a diverse range of opportunities for Mycorena’s entrance in the Brazilian market. Our team of experts in the field of filamentous fungi has developed a pioneer technology that enables the transformation of industrial by-products/wastes into valuable and environmental safe products. For that matter, we grow our fungi in a substrate available from a cheap source, e.g. agro-biomass and industrial waste, and the resulting product is a nutritionally rich compound (see chart) that can be used as animal feed or biofertilizer.

Another interesting possibility, especially for the animal feed industry, is to grow our fungi directly in a special culture media and produce a high quality feed (protein content of 50%), thus substituting (or complementing) other ingredients, like soy and corn.

The versatility of filamentous fungi is of great impact and high potential. We have to keep in mind that there is an increasing need to care for human welfare and also to develop a sustainable bio-economy for the future, thus there should be an increasing interest and investment in clean-technological solutions. At Mycorena we believe that this future is already the present and we are ready to partner with Brazilian companies that are looking for innovative industrial waste management together with opportunities for new revenue streams.

 

 

Prepared by,

Mariana Bertini Teixeira PhD,

Business Developer (Brazil),

Mycorena AB, Sweden

mariana@mycorena.com

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