ABSTRACT: The castor bean (Ricinus communis) represents a potential candidate for biodiesel production. The Petrobras Research Center is developing a biodiesel production process from castor bean seeds, in which an unwanted byproduct named castor bean waste is produced. This extremely alkaline waste is toxic and allergenic and, as such, poses a significant environmental problem. Solid-state fermentation (SSF) of castor bean waste was carried out to achieve ricin detoxification, reduce allergenic potential and stimulate lipase production. The fungus, Penicillium simplicissimum, an excellent lipase producer, was able to grow and produce lipase enzyme. After an optimization process, the maximum lipase activity achieved was 44.8 U/g. Moreover, the fungus P. simplicissimum was able to reduce the ricin content to non-detectable levels in addition to diminishing castor bean waste allergenic potential by approximately 16%. In this way, SSF of castor bean waste by P. simplicissimum may increase the utility of the waste by promoting enzyme production and eliminating the principal toxic element, ricin.
Enzyme and Microbial Technology.