An innovative approach using soybean residues for the production of bioflocculants through solid-state fermentation was carried out in 4.5 L near-to-adiabatic bioreactors at pilot-scale level. An added inoculum of the strain Bacillus subtilis UPMB13 was tested in comparison with control reactors without any inoculation after the thermophilic phase of the fermentation. The flocculating performances of the extracted bioflocculants were tested on kaolin suspensions, and crude bioflocculants were obtained from 20 g of fermented substrate through ethanol precipitation. The production of bioflocculants was observed to be higher during the death phase of microbial growth. The bioflocculants were observed to be granular in nature and consisted of hydroxyl, carboxyl and methoxyl groups that aid in their flocculating performance. The results show the vast potential of the idea of using wastes to produce bioactive materials that can replace the current dependence on chemicals, for future prospect in water treatment applications.

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