Volume 28 (2013) Issue 1 Pages 71-80
Phytate is the primary source of organic phosphorus, but it cannot be directly utilized by plants and is strongly adsorbed by the soil, reducing bioavailability. Composting is a process used to improve the bioavailability of phytate in organic wastes through degradation by microorganisms. In this study, we aimed to investigate the phytate-degrading ability of fungi and bacteria that inhabit sawdust compost and coffee residue compost, and their contribution to the composting process. In the plate assay, the fungi that formed clear zones around their colonies belonged to the genera Mucor, Penicillium, Galactomyces, Coniochaeta, Aspergillus, and Fusarium, while the bacteria belonged to the genera Pseudomonas, Enterobacter, Chitinophaga, and Rahnella. Eight fungal isolates (genera Mucor, Penicillium, Galactomyces, and Coniochaeta) and four bacterial isolates (genera Pseudomonas, Enterobacter, and Rahnella) were selected to evaluate phytase activity in their liquid culture and their ability to degrade phytate in organic materials composed of mushroom media residue and rice bran. The selected fungi degraded phytate in organic materials to varying degrees. Penicillium isolates showed the highest degradation ability and Coniochaeta isolate exhibited relatively high degradation ability. The clear zone diameters of these fungal isolates displayed significantly positive and negative correlations with inorganic and phytate phosphorus contents in the organic materials after incubation, respectively; however, none of the selected bacteria reduced phytate phosphorus in organic materials. It is therefore possible that fungi are major contributors to phytate degradation during composting.