Foods. 2021 Sep 13;10(9):2159. doi: 10.3390/foods10092159.
The beer industry is a major producer of solid waste globally, primarily in the form of brewer’s spent grain (BSG), which due to its low value has historically been diverted to livestock as feed or to landfills. However, its high moisture content and chemical composition positions BSG as an ideal candidate for further processing with microbial fermentation. Recent research has focused on filamentous fungi and the ability of some species therein to degrade the predominant recalcitrant cellulolignin components of BSG to produce valuable compounds. Many species have been investigated to biovalorize this waste stream, including those in the genuses Aspergillus, Penicillium, Rhyzopus, and Trichoderma, which have been used to produce a wide array of highly valuable enzymes and other functional compounds, and to increase the nutritional value of BSG as an animal feed. This review of recent developments in the application of filamentous fungi for the valorization of BSG discusses the biochemical makeup of BSG, the biological mechanisms underlying fungi’s primacy to this application, and the current applications of fungi in this realm.