As the temperature begins to rise in a compost heap, the mesophilic microflora is succeeded by thermophilic microflora (Hedger and Hudson, 1974). Therefore, the availability of soluble carbon sources (sugars, amino acids and organic acids) will decrease and the carbon source available to thermophilic fungi will mainly be the polysaccharide constituents of the biomass, chiefly cellulose and hemicelluloses. Not surprisingly, thermophilic fungi are therefore especially well adapted for polysaccharide utilization. The growth rate of the thermophilic fungus Sporotrichum thermophile on cellulose (paper) is similar to that on glucose (Bhat and Maheshwari, 1987). Chaetomium thermophile and Humicola insolens grew better on xylan than on simple sugars (Chang, 1967).
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