Strategies for PHA production by mixed cultures and renewable waste materials.
ABSTRACT Production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) by mixed cultures has been widely studied in the last decade. Storage of PHA by mixed microbial cultures occurs under transient conditions of carbon or oxygen availability, known respectively as aerobic dynamic feeding and anaerobic/aerobic process. In these processes, PHA-accumulating organisms, which are quite diverse in terms of phenotype, are selected by the dynamic operating conditions imposed to the reactor. The stability of these processes during long-time operation and the similarity of the polymer physical/chemical properties to the one produced by pure cultures were demonstrated. This process could be implemented at industrial scale, providing that some technological aspects are solved. This review summarizes the relevant research carried out with mixed cultures for PHA production, with main focus on the use of wastes or industrial surplus as feedstocks. Basic concepts, regarding the metabolism and microbiology, and technological approaches, with emphasis on the kind of feedstock and reactor operating conditions for culture selection and PHA accumulation, are described. Challenges for the process optimization are also discussed.
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ABSTRACT: Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) can be produced by microorganisms and are a biodegradable alternative to fossil-fuel based plastics. Currently, the focus is on reducing production costs by exploring alternative substrates for PHAs production, and on producing copolymers which are less brittle than monomers. Accordingly, this study used a substrate consisting of wastewater from waste-glycerol fermentation, supplemented with different amounts of acetic and propionic acids. These substrates were used to feed mixed microbial communities enriched from activated sludge in a sequencing batch reactor. A reactor supplemented with 2 mL of acetic acid produced 227.8 mg/L of a homopolymer of hydroxybutyrate (3HB); 4 mL of acetic acid produced 279.8 mg/L 3HB; whereas 4 mL of propionic acid produced 673.0 mg/L of a copolymer of 3HB and 3HV (hydroxyvalerate). Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (RISA) was used to show the differences between the communities created in the reactors. Thauera species predominated in biomass that produced 3HB; Paracoccus denitrificans in the biomass that produced 3HB-co-3HV. Because P. denitrificans produced the more desirable copolymer, it may be advantageous to promote its growth in PHAs-producing reactors by adding propionate.Brazilian Journal of Microbiology 01/2014; 45(2):395-402. · 0.45 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Waste-based polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) production by bacterial enrichments generally follows a three step strategy in which first the wastewater is converted into a volatile fatty acid rich stream that is subsequently used as substrate in a selector and biopolymer production units. In this work, a bacterial community with high biopolymer production capacity was enriched using glycerol, a non-fermented substrate. The substrate versatility and PHA production capacity of this community was studied using glucose, lactate, acetate and xylitol as substrate. Except for xylitol, very high PHA producing capacities were obtained. The PHA accumulation was comparable or even higher than with glycerol as substrate. This is the first study that established a high PHA content (≈70 wt%) with glucose as substrate in a microbial enrichment culture. The results presented in this study support the development of replacing pure culture based PHA production by bacterial enrichment cultures. A process where mixtures of substrates can be easily handled and the acidification step can potentially be avoided is described.Water Research 08/2014; 66C:190-198. · 5.32 Impact Factor