Mushrooms or fruiting bodies of many basidiomycetes are commonly produced in solid-state fermentation, generally after 20-60 days of growth. However, it is also possible to produce biomass from these fungi, in submerged fermentation in shorter time. This work was aimed at evaluating biomass production with the basidiomycete Pleurotus sajor-caju, in a submerged process and to determine the proportion of chemical components of this biomass. Initially, an optimization of the culture medium was done to produce a faster growth of microbial mass by changing the concentrations of ammonium sulfate, soy protein and yeast extract. Using the optimized culture medium, values of approximately 5.5 g L(-1) of biomass in a medium with 10 g L(-1) of glucose were attained. When the optimized culture medium was tested in a 5-L stirred tank bioreactor, using 10 g L(-1) of glucose or sucrose as carbon source, values of 8.18 and 5.94 g L(-1) of biomass concentration were obtained, respectively. In the medium with glucose, high yields (0.82 g g(-1)) and productivity of 0.085 g L(-1) h(-1) were obtained. The exopolysaccharide content (1.58 g dry matter L(-1)) in the culture was higher in the fermentation with sucrose. The nutritional composition of the biomass obtained in the submerged fermentation was similar to that of the fruiting body in terms of quantities of total carbohydrates, ash and calories, but total fat and protein were higher.
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