Crude glycerol as feedstock for polyhydroxyalkanoates production by mixed microbial cultures

R. Moita, A. Freches, Paulo Alexandre da Costa Lemos

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79 Citations (Scopus)


The increase in global biodiesel production makes imperative the development of sustainable processes for the use of its main by-product, crude glycerol. In this study the feasibility of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) production by a mixed microbial community using crude glycerol as feedstock was investigated. The selected culture had the ability to consume both glycerol and methanol fraction present in the crude. However, glycerol seemed to be the only carbon source contributing for the two biopolymers stored: poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) and glucose biopolymer (GB). In this work the culture reached a maximum PHB content of 47% (cdw) and a productivity of 0.27 g X/L.d, with an aerobic mixed cultures and a real waste substrate with non-volatile fatty acids (VFA) organic matter. The overall PHA yield on total substrate obtained was in the middle range of those reported in literature. The fact that crude glycerol can be used to produce PHA without any pre-treatment step, makes the overall production process economically more competitive, reducing polymer final cost.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-20
JournalWater Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014


  • Biodiesel
  • Crude glycerol
  • Feast/famine
  • Mixed microbial cultures (MMC) polyhydroxyalkanoates


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