keywords: Microorganisms, cassava peels, biodegradation, Manihot esculentum, physicochemical
This research was aimed at investigating microorganisms associated with the biodegradation of cassava peels. Cassava peels collected from villages near Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi, were washed using tap water to free them of soil particles. 30 g of cassava peels were weighed and placed in polythene bags labeled A, B, and C for seven days for the biodegradation process at room temperature (28οC). Physico-chemical parameters which include temperature and pH were determined progressively during the degradation period. Bacteria and fungi were isolated from degraded cassava peels by serial dilution and pour plate technique and identification was done biochemically using Bergey’s Manual and Compendium of Soil Fungi. Isolates were screened for cellulase production on carboxyl methyl cellulose (CMC) agar. Results from this study showed that isolated bacteria include; Bacillus spp. (37.5%) the most predominant bacterial isolate, followed by Streptococcus spp., Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas spp. (4.2%)being the least predominant bacterial isolate. Fungal isolates includes Aspergilus spp. (25.0%) the most predominant isolate, moderately followed by Rhizopus spp., Saccharomyces spp., Penicilium spp., Mucor spp. and Candida spp. and Trichoderma spp. (3.6%) was the least predominant isolate from the degraded cassava peels. Pseudomonas spp., Bacillus spp., Escherichia coli, Aspergilus spp., Peniciluim spp., Trichoderma spp., and Rhizopus spp., were able to degrade Cellulose amongst other isolates from the degraded cassava peels. Statistically, there was no significant difference between the bacterial load and the fungal load during the degradation process (P≤ 0.05). It is therefore recommended from the result of this research that, susceptibility analysis should be carried out on the isolated organisms to determine their level of resistance to antibiotics, microbial analysis of other cassava products should be done for further studies. Cassava species should also be analyzed to determine whether the distribution of microbial species is dependent on the species of cassava used.