Ripe plantain peels (RPP) and unripe plantain peels (UPP) were subjected to solid state fermentation using pure culture of three fungal isolates, namely Aspergillus niger, a flavus and penicillium sp. After seven days of fermentation a niger, a flavus and penicillum sp increased the crude protein content of both unripe plantain and ripe plantain peels by 34, 30.3, 2.3 and 9.5, 4.5, 4.0% respectively. Though the UPP fermented with pencillium sp showed the least percentage increase in the crude protein content after seven days of fermentation, it recorded the highest percentage increase (39.8%) when fermentation was allowed to continue for 21 days. Except in the ripe plantain peel fermented with A niger, the sugar content of the waste also showed an increase after seven days of fermentation with the ripe plantain peel fermented with a flavus recording the highest percentage increase of 142.6%.
There was a corresponding reduction in the cellulose content of both unripe plantain peel and ripe plantain peel with the ripe plantain peel fermented with A Niger showing the highest percentage reduction of 300%.
Available information reveals that the nutritional value of plantain peels is increased by fermentation using A. niger A. flavus and penicillium sp.
Fermentation is a metabolic process converting sugar to acids, gases and or alcohol using yeast or bacteria. In it strictest sense, fermentation is the absence of the electron transport chain and takes a reduced carbon source such as glucose and makes products like lactic acid or acetate (Oboh et al., 2002).
Fermentation is one of the oldest methods of applied biotechnology, having been used in food processing and presentation as well as beverages production for over 6000 years (Motarjemi, 2000)
The fermentation processes of staple food serve as a means of providing a major source of nourishment for large rural populations and contributing significantly to food security by increasing the range of raw material which can be used in the production of edible products (Adewusi et al., 1999). Fermentation increases the nutrient contents of food through the biosynthesis of vitamins, essential amino acids and protein. It improve protein quality and fiber digestibility. It also enhances the availability of micro nutrient to organisms for utilization and aids in the degradation of anti nutritional factors (Achinewhu et al., 1998).
The bioconversion of agriculture and industrial wastes to chemical feedstock has led to extensive studies on cellulolytic enzymes produced by fungi and bacteria waste and their disposal have become an environmental concern worldwide especially when these waste are biodegradable to useful goods and services (Shide et al.,2004).
Three major waste management routes have been identified, namely sewage disposal, composting and landfill and bioremediation (William,2001) out of which sewage disposal provides opportunity for possible recovery of useful product after biodegradation.
The use of biological means in the degradation of waste, especially agro-industrial by- products has greater advantages over the use of chemical because biotechnologically synthesized products are less toxic and environmentally friendly (Liu et al., 1998). Hence the modern world encourages a shift towards the use of microbes in degrading agro-industrial waste. So far, the literature has been silent on the use of some fungi to achieve this purpose in plantain peels.This study therefore intends to report the changes in the protein, cellulose and sugar contents of both ripe and unripe plantain peels when fermented with A. Niger, A. Flavus and penicillium sp (Iyayi, 2004).