Characterization of Polyhydroxyalkanoates Produced at Pilot Scale From Different Organic Wastes

Laura Lorini, Andrea Martinelli, Giorgio Capuani, Nicola Frison, Maria Reis, Bruno Sommer Ferreira, Marianna Villano, Mauro Majone, Francesco Valentino

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31 Citations (Scopus)
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Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) production at pilot scale has been recently investigated and carried out exploiting different process configurations and organic wastes. More in detail, three pilot platforms, in Treviso (North-East of Italy), Carbonera (North-East of Italy) and Lisbon, produced PHAs by open mixed microbial cultures (MMCs) and different organic waste streams: organic fraction of municipal solid waste and sewage sludge (OFMSW-WAS), cellulosic primary sludge (CPS), and fruit waste (FW), respectively. In this context, two stabilization methods have been applied, and compared, for preserving the amount of PHA inside the cells: thermal drying and wet acidification of the biomass at the end of PHA accumulation process. Afterward, polymer has been extracted following an optimized method based on aqueous-phase inorganic reagents. Several PHA samples were then characterized to determine PHA purity, chemical composition, molecular weight, and thermal properties. The polymer contained two types of monomers, namely 3-hydroxybutyrate (3HB) and 3-hydroxyvalerate (3HV) at a relative percentage of 92.6–79.8 and 7.4–20.2 w/w, respectively, for Treviso and Lisbon plants. On the other hand, an opposite range was found for 3HB and 3HV monomers of PHA from Carbonera, which is 44.0–13.0 and 56.0–87.0 w/w, respectively. PHA extracted from wet-acidified biomass had generally higher viscosity average molecular weights (Mv) (on average 424.8 ± 20.6 and 224.9 ± 21.9 KDa, respectively, for Treviso and Lisbon) while PHA recovered from thermally stabilized dried biomass had a three-fold lower Mv.

Original languageEnglish
Article number628719
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2021


  • mixed microbial culture (MMC)
  • molecular weight
  • polyhydroxyalakanoates
  • thermal properties
  • urban waste


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