Fungal treated lignocellulosic biomass as ruminant feed ingredient: A review

S.J.A. van Kuijk, A.S.M. Sonnenberg, J.J.P. Baars, W.H. Hendriks, J.W. Cone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


In ruminant nutrition, there is an increasing interest for ingredients that do not compete with human nutrition. Ruminants are specialists in digesting carbohydrates in plant cell walls; therefore lignocellulosic biomass has potential in ruminant nutrition. The presence of lignin in biomass, however, limits the effective utilization of cellulose and hemicellulose. Currently, most often chemical and/or physical treatments are used to degrade lignin. White rot fungi are selective lignin degraders and can be a potential alternative to current methods which involve potentially toxic chemicals and expensive equipment. This review provides an overview of research conducted to date on fungal pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass for ruminant feeds. White rot fungi colonize lignocellulosic biomass, and during colonization produce enzymes, radicals and other small compounds to breakdown lignin. The mechanisms on how these fungi degrade lignin are not fully understood, but fungal strain, the origin of lignocellulose and culture conditions have a major effect on the process. Ceriporiopsis subvermispora and Pleurotus eryngii are the most effective fungi to improve the nutritional value of biomass for ruminant nutrition. However, conclusions on the effectiveness of fungal delignification are difficult to draw due to a lack of standardized culture conditions and information on fungal strains used. Methods of analysis between studies are not uniform for both chemical analysis and in vitro degradation measurements. In vivo studies are limited in number and mostly describing digestibility after mushroom production, when the fungus has degraded cellulose to derive energy for fruit body development. Optimization of fungal pretreatment is required to shorten the process of delignification and make it more selective for lignin. In this respect, future research should focus on optimization of culture conditions and gene expression to obtain a better understanding of the mechanisms involved and allow the development of superior fungal strains to degrade lignin in biomass.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-202
JournalBiotechnology Advances
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • white-rot fungi
  • solid-state fermentation
  • in-vitro digestibility
  • chromatography mass-spectrometry
  • spent wheat straw
  • oil palm fronds
  • pleurotus-ostreatus
  • ceriporiopsis-subvermispora
  • chemical-composition
  • trametes-versicolor

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