How Trichoderma Reesei Strain Can Be Used In Industrial Applications

Microorganisms are omnipresent in nature and take on many different shapes and forms. For example, you can find them in the soil, air, and water. They are present in or on nearly everything, including plants or even in your food. Trichoderma reesei is no different in this regard, but what is it, and what are some industrial applications that it could be used in?

What Is Trichoderma Reesei?

Trichoderma reesei is a plant pathogenic fungus found globally in tropical and subtropical regions. It has been used to produce ethanol or medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) and is used to produce cellulose fibers, protein, enzymes, antibiotics, and other products. Trichoderma reesei is a type of fungus that can grow on decaying plant matter to produce chemicals that inhibit the growth of other fungi. While it only produces small amounts of certain chemicals, scientists have found out how to use them in agriculture and medicine for various purposes. There are several possible industrial applications of Trichoderma reesei, such as environmental control, wastewater treatment, and biotechnology. 

What Are Its Industrial Applications?

With its known for its ability to degrade organic compounds like pesticides, herbicides, chlorinated solvents, and heavy metals like Cadmium, there are many potential applications for these fungi, which makes it such an exciting fungus to research. For these reasons, t reesei research is speeding forward at such a significant rate. Many laboratories exploring its potential applications are finding more and more ways to use it as their research progresses. But what are some currently known applications for this fantastic fungi?

What Are Its Industrial Applications

Biocontrol Applications

Trichoderma reesei is a potential novel biocontrol agent that is highly effective against plant pathogens. Trichoderma reesei has shown the ability to protect against the following pathogens:

  • Phyllosticta citricola
  • Phyllosticta sojina
  • Ascochyta trifolii
  • Pseudocercosporella herpotrichoides
  • Curvularia lunata
  • Sclerotinia sclerotiorum

The application of Trichoderma Reesei in the agricultural industry has been studied in-depth, but not much research is available on how it might be used in other sectors. For instance, Trichoderma Reesei’s potential use in pharmaceutical manufacturing has been recognized as it can be used to kill bacteria and even yeast that may somehow contaminate the product.

Biofuel Production

Biofuel Production

T. reesei fungus is capable of breaking down biomass to produce biofuel. Biofuel production is expected to accelerate in the coming years, so scientists have placed T. reesei in the spotlight as a potential opportunity for biofuel production. Cellulases, enzymes that break down cellulose, are members of a group of enzymes called glycoside hydrolases. Enzymes take complex sugars, such as cellulose, which makes up a large percentage of plant biomass, and create simple sugars that are then used to make biofuels. Several chemical and radiological compounds were used to accelerate the mutation process in Trichoderma reesei. A strain of Trichoderma reesei was selected for its ability to produce and secrete more enzymes, which are used to make plant-derived ethanol on an industrial scale.

Agricultural Applications

The Trichoderma reesei fungus has many uses in farming. It can break down the organic compounds of other organisms and release them as nutrients for other organisms. One use of the Trichoderma reesei reduces or even eliminates pests from crops. The most significant of these benefits is its ability to act as an endophyte, meaning it grows inside plants without harming them. It can also protect plants from fungal diseases like Ascochyta blight and powdery mildew. It has been used in various crops, including fruits, vegetables, sweet potatoes, onions, and potatoes. Trichoderma reesei is also used as a biopesticide for controlling insects, fungi, bacteria, nematodes, and weeds by using different methods such as chemical suppression, physical suppression, nutritional modulation, or biological control. As more companies invest in research and development, they become more aware of Trichoderma reesei’s benefits to their farms. This has led to an increased application that is beneficial for farmers and consumers who want safe food sources that are not chemically treated.

Reversing Soil Degradation

Land contamination from agricultural and industrial operations by heavy metals is an environmental issue on a global scale. Toxic metals pose a risk to both the ecosystem and public health since they are resistant to biodegradation. A variety of approaches have been developed for the rehabilitation of metal-contaminated soils. Phytoremediation (the use of living plants to decontaminate pollution) is seen as a promising strategy due to its low cost and environmental friendliness. Plant-associated bacteria and fungi (like Trichoderma reesei) have recently been studied for their ability to improve the efficacy of phytoremediation, especially on heavy metals like lead and Cadmium. Trichoderma species are distinguished by their fast growth, asexually, efficient colonization, and low-specificity symbiotic relationships. In areas characterized by intensive farming operations, it may even reverse soil degradation and revolutionize soil decontamination methods.

Clothing Applications

Interestingly, Trichoderma reesei has some applications in the clothing industry. While it is not a common thing to use, it does have specific applications. For example, it is used to make stonewashed jeans via a process prompted by Texan clothing company American Garment Finishers. Because the enzymes produced by this fungus break down cellulose fibers, creating the jeans’ unique look of being rubbed with stones. Because there is no need for heavy machinery, the entire process is far more affordable.

Wastewater Treatment

Bacteria are frequently used in biological wastewater treatment to degrade carbonaceous and nitrogenous chemicals found in wastewater. Most aerobic treatment systems are resource-intensive; the sediment generated by these systems causes disposal issues that need further care and expenditure. Additional optimization efforts, including the use of modified or alternative fungal strains such as T. reesei, may improve the efficiency of the suggested approach. Wastewater treatment with this alternative technology might be a viable future paradigm for achieving high treatment efficiency. 

In conclusion, Trichoderma reesei strains can be used in many industrial applications, ranging from agricultural to clothing. Trichoderma reesei is a beneficial fungus for a variety of industrial applications. The potential for T. Reesei to biodegrade toxic chemicals, extract heavy metals from the soil, and produce cellulosic ethanol makes it a perfect candidate for bioengineering.

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