Two fungal strains producing ligninolytic enzymes and having the potential to decolorize distillery effluent were isolated from the soil of a distillery effluent contaminated site. DNA was isolated from the pure cultures of these fungi and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of their internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of nuclear ribosomal DNA was carried out.
Further, the DNA was sequenced and the comparison of generated sequence with database led to their identification as Penicillium pinophilum TERI DB1 and Alternaria gaisen TERI DB6 respectively. These two isolates along with one isolate of Pleurotus floridaEM 1303 were assessed for their ligninolytic enzyme activity in culture filtrate as well as after solid state fermentation on two substrates wheat straw and corncob powder. Ergosterol was measured to assess the growth of fungi on solid media. Both P. pinophilum TERI DB1 and A. gaisen TERI DB6 were found to produce laccase, manganese-dependent peroxidases (MnP) and lignin peroxidases (LiP).
The immobilized fungal biomass was then used for decolorization of the post biomethanated wastewater from the distillery. Reduction in color up to the magnitude of 86, 50 and 47% was observed with P. florida, P. pinophilum and A. gaisen respectively.