AbstractThe alkaline-tolerant marine-derived fungus Chaetomium globosum was tested for the production of enhanced levels of cellulases and free phenolics under highly alkaline conditions using agro wastes (cotton seed, sugar cane bagasse) as substrates under solid state fermentation (SSF) processes. In both the agro wastes used, an increase in cellulases (β-endoglucanase, β-Glucosidase, and β-exoglucanase) production was observed with increase in pH. This enhanced carbohydrate-hydrolyzing enzymes (β-endoglucanase, β-Glucosidase and β-exoglucanase) and thereby enriched the total phenolic release from agro-wastes under SSF conditions of higher pH. A linear correlation was observed between released total phenolic contents of agro-wastes and total antioxidant property. The increased antioxidant activity on free radical scavenging was also observed with the increase in pH. Thus, the present study makes it possible to produce nutraceutical ingredients cost-effectively from agricultural wastes.