Utilization and optimization of a waste stream cellulose culture medium for pigment production by Penicillium spp.



James Smith, QUT, Science and Engineering Faculty, School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences, GPO Box 2434, Brisbane QLD 4001, Australia. E-mail:



This research sought to determine optimal corn waste stream–based fermentation medium C and N sources and incubation time to maximize pigment production by an indigenous Indonesian Penicillium spp., as well as to assess pigment pH stability.

Methods and Results

A Penicillium spp. was isolated from Indonesian soil, identified as Penicillium resticulosum, and used to test the effects of carbon and nitrogen type and concentrations, medium pH, incubation period and furfural on biomass and pigment yield (PY) in a waste corncob hydrolysate basal medium. Maximum red PY (497·03 ± 55·13 mg l−1) was obtained with a 21 : 1 C : N ratio, pH 5·5–6·0; yeast extract-, NH4NO3-, NaNO3-, MgSO4·7H2O-, xylose- or carboxymethylcellulose (CMC)-supplemented medium and 12 days (25°C, 60–70% relative humidity, dark) incubation. C source, C, N and furfural concentration, medium pH and incubation period all influenced biomass and PY. Pigment was pH 2–9 stable.


Penicillium resticulosum demonstrated microbial pH-stable-pigment production potential using a xylose or CMC and N source, supplemented waste stream cellulose culture medium.

Significance and Impact of the Study

Corn derived, waste stream cellulose can be used as a culture medium for fungal pigment production. Such application provides a process for agricultural waste stream resource reuse for production of compounds in increasing demand.