Up-cycling of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) to the biodegradable plastic PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate).
ABSTRACT The conversion of the petrochemical polymer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) to a biodegradable plastic polyhydroxyal-kanoate (PHA) is described here. PET was pyrolised at 450 degrees C resulting in the production of a solid, liquid, and gaseous fraction. The liquid and gaseous fractions were burnt for energy recovery, whereas the solid fraction terephthalic acid (TA) was used as the feedstock for bacterial production of PHA. Strains previously reported to grow on TA were unable to accumulate PHA. We therefore isolated bacteria from soil exposed to PET granules at a PET bottle processing plant From the 32 strains isolated, three strains capable of accumulation of medium chain length PHA (mclPHA) from TA as a sole source of carbon and energy were selected for further study. These isolates were identified using 16S rDNA techniques as P. putida (GO16), P. putida (GO19), and P. frederiksbergensis (GO23). P. putida GO16 and GO19 accumulate PHA composed predominantly of a 3-hydroxydecanoic acid monomer while P. frederiksbergensis GO23 accumulates 3-hydroxydecanoic acid as the predominant monomer with increased amounts of 3-hydroxydodecanoic acid and 3-hydroxydodecenoic acid compared to the other two strains. PHA was detected in all three strains when nitrogen depleted below detectable levels in the growth medium. Strains GO16 and GO19 accumulate PHA at a maximal rate of approximately 8.4 mg PHA/l/h for 12 h before the rate of PHA accumulation decreased dramatically. Strain GO23 accumulates PHA at a lower maximal rate of 4.4 mg PHA/l/h but there was no slow down in the rate of PHA accumulation over time. Each of the PHA polymers is a thermoplastic with the onset of thermal degradation occurring around 308 degrees C with the complete degradation occurring by 370 degrees C. The molecular weight ranged from 74 to 123 kDa. X-ray diffraction indicated crystallinity of the order of 18-31%. Thermal analysis shows a low glass transition (-53 degrees C) with a broad melting endotherm between 0 and 45 degrees C.
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The red yeast Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous is a natural producer of the carotenoid astaxanthin. Because of its high flux, the native terpene pathway leading to the production of the tetraterpene is of particular interest as it can be redirected toward the production of other terpene compounds. The genetic tools for the transformation of the yeast with the concurrent knock-out of genes involved in the astaxanthin biosynthesis are made available and here we show that the production of the sesquiterpene alpha-cuprenene is possible in mutant strains of X. dendrorhous transformed with the Cop6 gene originating from the fungus Coprinus cinereus. For the evaluation of the production levels, we chose to express the same gene and analyze the accumulation of alpha-cuprenene in Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as well. Here we propose that X. dendrorhous is a candidate in the search for the potential platform organism for the production of terpenes. RESULTS: All three X. dendrorhous mutants functionally express the Cop6 gene and accumulate alpha-cuprenene. The production of alpha-cuprenene in the red yeast reached 80 mg/L, which represents a far higher concentration compared to the levels obtained in the E. coli and S. cerevisiae mutants. At this expression levels the pool of terpene precursors has not become a limiting factor in the X. dendrorhous mutants since the expression of the Cop6 gene in the genomic rDNA of the yeast allows production of both alpha-cuprenene and astaxanthin without affecting the growth or the accumulation levels of both compounds. CONCLUSIONS: We have shown that X. dendrorhous can produce alpha-cuprenene, and the results here presented, next to the capability of accumulating at least two more non-native sesquiterpenes, demonstrates the high potential of this yeast to become an interesting terpene-based drugs producer.Microbial Cell Factories 02/2013; 12(1):13. · 3.31 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A process for the conversion of post consumer (agricultural) polyethylene (PE) waste to the biodegradable polymer medium chain length polyhydroxyalkanoate (mcl-PHA) is reported here. The thermal treatment of PE in the absence of air (pyrolysis) generated a complex mixture of low molecular weight paraffins with carbon chain lengths from C8 to C32 (PE pyrolysis wax). Several bacterial strains were able to grow and produce PHA from this PE pyrolysis wax. The addition of biosurfactant (rhamnolipids) allowed for greater bacterial growth and PHA accumulation of the tested strains. Some strains were only capable of growth and PHA accumulation in the presence of the biosurfactant. Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO-1 accumulated the highest level of PHA with almost 25 % of the cell dry weight as PHA when supplied with the PE pyrolysis wax in the presence of rhamnolipids. The change of nitrogen source from ammonium chloride to ammonium nitrate resulted in faster bacterial growth and the earlier onset of PHA accumulation. To our knowledge, this is the first report where PE is used as a starting material for production of a biodegradable polymer.Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 01/2014; · 3.69 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are bioplastics that can replace conventional petroleum derived products in various applications. One of the major barriers for their widespread introduction in the market is the higher production costs compared with their petrochemical counterparts. In this work, a process was successfully implemented with high productivity based on wheat straw, a cheap and readily available agricultural residue, as raw material. The strain Burkholderia sacchari DSM 17165 which is able to metabolise glucose, xylose and arabinose, the main sugars present in wheat straw hydrolysates (WSH), was used. Results in shake flask showed that B. sacchari cells accumulated about 70% g P(3HB)/g cell-dry-weight with a yield of polymer on sugars (YP/S) of 0.18g/g when grown on a mixture of commercial C6 and C5 sugars (control), while these values reached about 60% g P(3HB)/g cell-dry-weight and 0.19g/g, respectively, when WSHs were used as carbon source. In fed-batch cultures carried out in 2L stirred tank reactors on WSH, a maximum polymer concentration of 105g/L was reached after 61h of cultivation corresponding to an accumulation of 72% of CDW. Polymer yield and productivity were 0.22g P(3HB)/g total sugar consumed and 1.6g/L(.) h, respectively. The selected feeding strategy successfully overcame the carbon catabolite repression phenomenon observed with sugar mixtures containing hexoses and pentoses. This is the first work describing fed-batch cultivations aiming at PHA production using real lignocellulosic hydrolysates. Additionally, the P(3HB) volumetric productivities attained are by far the highest ever achieved on agricultural waste hydrolysates.New Biotechnology 10/2013; · 1.71 Impact Factor