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2Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Buea,P.O. Box 63 Buea, Cameroon
Plant material constitutes a major portion of municipal waste, with cellulose and lignin being important molecular components of these wastes. Some organisms such as fungi have the natural ability to break down lignocelluloses to useful components. The aim of this study was therefore to isolate fungi from plant material collected from dumpsites, and to screen the isolates for ligninase activity. The isolates were characterized using cultural and micro-morphological techniques. Those which showed ligninase activity were further characterized using molecular techniques. A total of 8 plant waste samples were collected from four randomly selected dumpsites in Buea. From these, 15 fungi isolates were obtained in pure culture. They were identified into taxonomic phyla based on cultural and micro-morphological characteristics. All the 15 isolates were Ascomycota. Two isolates, YMp13 and PwPb14, obtained from yam and pawpaw peels respectively, were able to decolourize Remazol brilliant blue R in culture, an indication of their ability to break down lignin. The molecular weights of DNA extracted from these two isolates were between 400bp and 600bp. Based on sequence similarity, these two isolates were identified as Aspergillus niger GenBank accession number KT964850 (for isolate YMp13) and Fusarium solani GenBank accession number AF178407 (for isolate PwPb14). Our findings show that dumpsites harbour some fungi species which can be used in the management of domestic wastes.