The benefits of fungus are so enormous and extensive, especially for agro-manufacturing industries. Even so, the industry that uses fungus commercially is largely still unsatisfactory. The reasons are low productivity and technical problems of fungus utilization in the field of biotechnology industry. As many as 70% of production cost is used for raw materials, as well as material handling that uses up quite large amount of production cost. "The selling price of fermented food products using fungus was usually not so high, thus the Break Even Point (BEP) becomes so high. From some of the researches, it is known that the amount of BEP ranged between 65-70%," Prof. Dr. Ir. Sardjono, M.S. said in the Senate Hall on Tuesday (21/6), when he was inaugurated as Professor of Agricultural Product Manufacturing, UGM Faculty of Agriculture Technology.
Therefore, to achieve a large profit, the industrial capacity must also be large. This large plant capacity would require a demanding handling process and control. This issue became one of the causes of why some of the micro protein or single cell protein industries are not able to survive. Meanwhile, the main enzyme production control with control of genetic material can provide opportunities for increased enzyme productivity of a strain. "Therefore, a search through biosynthetic pathways by a fungal need to be developed continuously," said Sardjono, Head of the Laboratory of Biotechnology UGM in his speech titled Yarn Fungus and Its Development on Agricultural Product Manufacturing Industry.
In his speech, Sardjono still expressed optimism about opportunities for the utilization and development of fungi for agricultural products manufacturing industry is still wide open. However, to increase the productivity several steps are required, including searches of biosynthetic pathways by fungi which are still very limited. In addition, it is necessary to search important enzymes that are significant in biosynthesis, biosynthesis control, and kinetic parameters as a basis for process control as well as improvement of basic research to larger-scale and scale-up development toward the design for commercial production technology.
"As a country located in the tropics area, Indonesia has a wealth of exceptional strain of fungi so that the starter technology of the selected fungal needs to be developed. While the availability of selected tropical mushroom starter for industrial use opens tremendous opportunity to increase the added value for agriculture results in Indonesia," Sardjono explained.
He added that the increase in tropical yarn fungus biotechnology research will eventually become the foundation for the development of fungal fermentation-based industries in Indonesia. Therefore, increased amount of research from the basic to commercial-scale research along with the feasibility test becomes a priority in order to accelerate the benefits of agricultural output significantly.