Bioconversion of Terephthalic Acid and Ethylene Glycol Into Bacterial Cellulose by Komagataeibacter xylinus DSM 2004 and DSM 46604

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Komagataeibacter xylinus strains DSM 2004 and DSM 46604 were evaluated for their ability to grow and produce bacterial cellulose (BC) upon cultivation on terephthalic acid (TA) and ethylene glycol (EG), which are monomers of the petrochemical-derived plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Both strains were able to utilize TA, EG, and their mixtures for BC synthesis, with different performances. K. xylinus DSM 2004 achieved higher BC production from TA (0.81 ± 0.01 g/L), EG (0.64 ± 0.02 g/L), and TA + EG mixtures (0.6 ± 0.1 g/L) than strain DSM 46604. The latter was unable to utilize EG as the sole carbon source and reached a BC production of 0.16 ± 0.01 g/L and 0.23 ± 0.1 g/L from TA alone or TA + EG mixtures, respectively. Further supplementing the media with glucose enhanced BC production by both strains. During cultivation on media containing TA and EG, rapid pH drop due to metabolization of EG into acidic compounds led to some precipitation of TA that was impregnated into the BC pellicles. An adaptation of the downstream procedure involving BC dissolution in NaOH was used for the recovery of pure BC. The different medium composition tested, as well as the downstream procedure, impacted the BC pellicles’ physical properties. Although no variation in terms of the chemical structure were observed, differences in crystallinity degree and microstructure of the produced BC were observed. The BC produced by K. xylinus DSM 2004 had a higher crystallinity (19–64%) than that of the strain DSM 46604 (17–53%). Moreover, the scanning electron microscopy analysis showed a higher fiber diameter for K. xylinus DSM 2004 BC (46–56 nm) than for K. xylinus DSM 46604 (37–49 nm). Dissolution of BC in NaOH did not influence the chemical structure; however, it led to BC conversion from type I to type II, as well as a decrease in crystallinity. These results demonstrate that PET monomers, TA and EG, can be upcycled into a value-added product, BC, presenting an approach that will contribute to lessening the environmental burden caused by plastic disposal in the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number853322
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2022


  • bacterial cellulose
  • bioconversion
  • ethylene glycol
  • PET
  • terephthalic acid


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