Isolation, identification and screening of lipid-degrading fungal organisms causing rot of unripe, ripe
and dry fruits of Jatropha curcas L. were carried out, and determination of the fungus showing highest
lipolytic activity on the substrate analysed from three different locations within Edo State, Nigeria was
done using standard methods. Five fungal isolates (Curvularia geniculata, Lasiodiplodia theobromae,
Trichoderma harzianum, Mucor sp. and Penicillium sp.) were recovered from the samples. Penicillium
sp. had the highest frequency (37.5%) while Mucor sp. and Trichoderma sp. had the lowest (25%).
Fungal isolates screened on solid agar showed low extracellular lipolytic activity detected by their nonproduction
of a distinct clear zone of inhibition. In submerged fermentation, the growth of the lipolytic
fungi ranged between 0.0492 (Mucor sp.) and 0.1539 g (T. harzianum). Spectrophotometric
measurement (at 600 nm) of lipase production varied with Mucor sp. having the highest production of
lipase. There was a significant difference (p≥0.05) between growth and lipolytic activities of the fungi.
The study showed that Mucor sp. and L. theobromae are lipase producers and efficient lipid degraders.
The implication of this is that these fungi could reduce the oil content of J. curcas seed and
consequently its economic value.