Fungal Technology Applied to Distillery Effluent Treatment

  • Luciana Melisa Del Gobbo
  • Verónica L. Colin
Part of the Nanotechnology in the Life Sciences book series (NALIS)


The Northwest of Argentina has numerous sugar industries, and about 99.5% of the total sugar production is concentrated in the provinces of Tucumán, Salta, and Jujuy. Integrated sugarcane factories (sugar mills coupled to a bioethanol distillery) are common in our country. The liquid fraction generated from rectification and distillation operations of bioethanol, known as vinasse, is not itself a hazardous waste, but because of its complex composition, it is considered potentially dangerous.

The province of Tucumán has achieved a substantial improvement with regard to the vinasse spills onto watercourses near sugar-alcohol industries. However, millions of liters of effluent are annually accumulated in open-pit pools to the limit of their capacity, threatening the sustainability of the ecosystem.

A variety of physicochemical and microbiological technologies is continually evaluated to mitigate the environmental impact of vinasse. However, microbiological conditioning of distillery effluents has been reported as effective and eco-friendly. Particularly, fungal technology has made great contributions to the treatment of vinasse since fungi possess an extraordinary ability to digest complex waste materials. Additionally, fungus-based processes offer the possibility to obtain value-added products from waste materials. The present chapter provides an overview of the current scope of fungal technology applied for treatment of vinasse. Additionally, the first advances on the potential of an autochthonous fungal strain to degrade a local sugarcane vinasse sample are discussed.


Agar-vinasse medium Bioprocess Fungus spores Strain V1 Sugarcane vinasse 



The present study has been supported by Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica (ANPCyT) (PICT 2015 N° 0292) and CONICET.


  1. Aguiar MM, Romanholo Ferreira LF, Rosim Monteriro RT (2010) Use of vinasse and sugarcane bagasse for the production of enzymes by lignocellulolytic fungi. Braz Arch Biol Technol 53(5):1245–1254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aparicio JD, Benimeli CS, Almeida CA, Polti MA, Colin VL (2017) Integral use of sugarcane vinasse for biomass production of Actinobacteria and their potential application in soil remediation technologies. Chemosphere 181:478–484CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. APHA, AWWA, WEF (2012) Standard methods for examination of water and wastewater, 22nd edn. American Public Health Association, 1360 pp, Washington, DC. isbn:978-087553-013-0Google Scholar
  4. Baldiris LF, López E, Castillo J, Caicedo LD (2012) Biodegradation of sugarcane vinasse with strains of the fungus Schyzophyllum commune and Trichoderma viride. Ingenium 6(14):39–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cavalett O, Junqueira TL, Dias MOS, Jesus CDF, Mantelatto PE, Cunha MP (2012) Environmental and economic assessment of sugarcane first generation biorefineries in Brazil. Agric Ecosyst Environ 14:399–410Google Scholar
  6. Colin VL, Baigorí MD, Pera LM (2013) Tailoring fungal morphology of Aspergillus niger MYA 135 by altering the hyphal morphology and the conidia adhesion capacity: biotechnological applications. AMB Express 3:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Colin VL, Juárez Cortes AA, Aparicio JD, Amoroso MJ (2016) Potential application of a bioemulsifier-producing actinobacterium for treatment of vinasse. Chemosphere 144:842–847CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Colin VL, Bourguignon N, Gómez JS, Gianni K, Ferrero MA, Amoroso MJ (2017) Production of surface-active compounds by a hydrocarbon-degrading actinobacterium: presumptive relationship with lipase activity. Water Air Soil Pollut 228:454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Colin VL, Rulli MM, Del Gobbo LM, Amoroso MJ (2018) Potential application of an indigenous actinobacterium to remove heavy metals from sugarcane vinasse. In: Donati RE (ed) Heavy metals in the environments: microorganisms and bioremediation. CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, pp 47–58Google Scholar
  10. Del Gobbo LM, Rulli MM, Cuozzo SA, Colin VL (2017) Selection of vinasse-degrading microorganisms. Congreso Argentino de Microbiologia General, SAMIGE-2017Google Scholar
  11. Dorla E, Caro Y, Fouillaud M, Dufossé L, Laurent P (2014) Valorization of vinasse, a rum distillery effluent, by the production of carotenoid pigments using filamentous fungi. Conference: 7th International Congress of Pigments in Food – New technologies towards health, through colors, Novara, Italy, June 18–21 2013, At Novara, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  12. EPA (2016) Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations.
  13. EPA Guidelines for Wineries and Distilleries (2004) South Australian wine industry association environment committee. ISBN 1-876562-66-8Google Scholar
  14. España-Gamboa E, Mijangos-Cortes J, Barahona-Perez L, Dominguez-Maldonado J, Hernandez-Zarate G, Alzate-Gaviria L (2011) Vinasse: characterization and treatments. Waste Manag Res 29(12):1235–1250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. España-Gamboa E, Vicent T, Font X, Mijangos-Cortés J, Canto-Canché B, Alzate-Gaviria L (2015) Penhol and color removal in hydrous ethanol vinasse in an air-pulsed bioreactor using Trametes versicolor. J Biochem Technol 6(3):982–986Google Scholar
  16. España-Gamboa E, Vicent T, Font X, Dominguez-Maldonado J, Canto-Canché B, Alzate-Gaviria L (2017) Pretreatment of vinasse from the sugar reninery industry under non-sterile conditions by Trametes versicolor in a fluidized bed bioreactor and its effect when coupled to an UASB reactor. J Biol Eng 11:6CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  17. Espinosa-Ortiz EJ, Rene ER, Pakshirajan K, van Hullebusch ED, Lens PNL (2016) Fungal pellets reactor in wastewater treatment: applications and perspectives. Chem Eng J 283:553–571CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ferreira JA (2015) Integration of filamentous fungi in ethanol dry-mill biorefinery. Ph.D. thesis, Swedish Centre for Resource Recovery, University of Borås, Borås, SwedenGoogle Scholar
  19. Kenneth J (2017) Global agricultural information network. USDA United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service. pp 1–18Google Scholar
  20. Kharayat Y (2012) Distillery wastewater: bioremediation approaches. J Integr Environ Sci 9(2):69–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kondusamy D, Kalamdhad A (2014) Pre-treatment and anaerobic digestion of food waste for high rate methane production – a review. J Environ Chem Eng 2:1821–1830CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Moran-Salazar RG, Sanchez-Lizarraga AL, Rodriguez-Campos J, Davila-Vazquez G, Marino-Marmolejo EN, Dendooven L, Contreras-Ramos SM (2016) Utilization of vinasses as soil amendment: consequences and perspectives. SpringerPlus 5(1):1007CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  23. Mornadini M, Quaia E (2013) Alternativas para el aprovechamiento de la vinaza como subproducto de la actividad sucroalcoholera. Avanc Agroindustrial 34(2). EEAO-DOSSIER, pp 40–43Google Scholar
  24. Nair RB, Taherzadeh MJ (2016) Valorization of sugar-to-ethanol process waste vinasse: a novel biorefinery approach using edible ascomycetes filamentous fungi. Bioresour Technol 221:469–476CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Nitayavardhana S, Issarapayup K, Pavasant P, Khanal SK (2013) Production of protein-rich fungi biomass in an airlift bioreactor using vinasse as substrate. Bioresour Technol 113:301–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Oliveira AF, Matos VC, Bastos RG (2012) Cultivation of Aspergillus niger on sugarcane bagasse with vinasse. Biosci J 28(6):889–894Google Scholar
  27. Pires JF, Ferreira GMR, Reis KC, Schwan RF, Silva CF (2016) Mixed yeasts inocula for simultaneous production of SCP and treatment of vinasse to reduce soil and fresh water pollution. J Environ Manag 182:455–463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rajasundari K, Murugesan R (2011) Decolourization of distillery waste water – role of microbes and their potential oxidative enzymes (review). J Appl Environ Biol Sci 1:54–68Google Scholar
  29. Rodrigues Reis CE, Hu B (2017) Vinasse from sugarcane ethanol production: better treatment or better utilization? Front Energy Res 5:7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Romanholo Ferreira LF, Aguiar MM, Mesias TG, Pompeu GB, Queijeiro Lopez AM, Silva DP, Monteiro RT (2011) Evaluation of sugar-cane vinasse treated with Pleurotus sajor-caju utilizing aquatic organisms as toxicological indicators. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 74:132–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sartori SB, Ferreira LFR, Messias TG, Souza G, Pompeu GB, Monteiro RTR (2015) Pleurotus biomass production on vinasse and its potential use for aquaculture feed. Mycology 6(1):28–34CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Tapia-Tusell R, Pérez-Brito D, Torres-Calzada C, Cortéz-Velázquez A, Alzate-Gaviria L, Chablé-Villacís R, Solís-Pereira S (2015) Laccase gene expression and vinasse biodegradation by Trametes hirsuta strain Bm-2. Molecules 20:15147–15157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Tiso M, Schechter AN (2015) Nitrate reduction to nitrite, nitric oxide and amonia by gut bacteria under physiological conditions. PLoS One 10(3):e0119712CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  34. Vilar DS, Carvalho GO, Pupo MMS, Romanholo Ferreira LF (2018) Vinasse degradation using Pleurotus sajor-caju in a combined biological-electrochemical oxidation treatment. Sep Purif Technol 192:287–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Vohra M, Manwar J, Manmode R, Padgilwar S, Patil S (2014) Bioethanol production: feedstock and current technologies. J Environ Chem Eng 2(1):573–584CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luciana Melisa Del Gobbo
    • 1
  • Verónica L. Colin
    • 2
  1. 1.Facultad de Bioquímica, Química y FarmaciaUniversidad Nacional de TucumánTucumánArgentina
  2. 2.Planta Piloto de Procesos Industriales Microbiológicos (PROIMI-CONICET)TucumánArgentina

Personalised recommendations