The use of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) as slow-release electron donors for environmental remediation represents a novel and appealing application that is attracting considerable attention in the scientific community. In this context, here, the fermentation pattern of different types of PHA-based materials has been investigated in batch and continuous-flow experiments. Along with commercially available materials, produced from axenic microbial cultures, PHA produced at pilot scale by mixed microbial cultures (MMC) using waste feedstock have been also tested. As a main finding, a rapid onset of volatile fatty acids (VFA) production was observed with a low-purity MMC-deriving material, consisting of microbial cells containing 56% (on weight basis) of intracellular PHA. Indeed, with this material a sustained, long-term production of organic acids (i.e., acetic, propionic, and butyric acids) was observed. In addition, the obtained yield of conversion into acids (up to 70% gVFA/gPHA) was higher than that obtained with the other tested materials, made of extracted and purified PHA. These results clearly suggest the possibility to directly use the PHA-rich cells deriving from the MMC production process, with no need of extraction and purification procedures, as a sustainable and effective carbon source bringing remarkable advantages from an economic and environmental point of view.

Assessment of long-term fermentability of pha-based materials from pure and mixed microbial cultures for potential environmental applications

Valentino Francesco
Validation
;
2021

Abstract

The use of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) as slow-release electron donors for environmental remediation represents a novel and appealing application that is attracting considerable attention in the scientific community. In this context, here, the fermentation pattern of different types of PHA-based materials has been investigated in batch and continuous-flow experiments. Along with commercially available materials, produced from axenic microbial cultures, PHA produced at pilot scale by mixed microbial cultures (MMC) using waste feedstock have been also tested. As a main finding, a rapid onset of volatile fatty acids (VFA) production was observed with a low-purity MMC-deriving material, consisting of microbial cells containing 56% (on weight basis) of intracellular PHA. Indeed, with this material a sustained, long-term production of organic acids (i.e., acetic, propionic, and butyric acids) was observed. In addition, the obtained yield of conversion into acids (up to 70% gVFA/gPHA) was higher than that obtained with the other tested materials, made of extracted and purified PHA. These results clearly suggest the possibility to directly use the PHA-rich cells deriving from the MMC production process, with no need of extraction and purification procedures, as a sustainable and effective carbon source bringing remarkable advantages from an economic and environmental point of view.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3740545
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