Dynamics of Microbial Communities in Phototrophic Polyhydroxyalkanoate Accumulating Cultures

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Phototrophic mixed cultures (PMC) are versatile systems which can be applied for waste streams, valorisation and production of added-value compounds, such as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA). This work evaluates the influence of different operational conditions on the bacterial communities reported in PMC systems with PHA production capabilities. Eleven PMCs, fed either with acetate or fermented wastewater, and selected under either feast and famine (FF) or permanent feast (PF) regimes, were evaluated. Overall, results identified Chromatiaceae members as the main phototrophic PHA producers, along with Rhodopseudomonas, Rhodobacter and Rhizobium. The findings show that Chromatiaceae were favoured under operating conditions with high carbon concentrations, and particularly under the PF regime. In FF systems fed with fermented wastewater, the results indicate that increasing the organic loading rate enriches for Rhodopseudomonas, Rhizobium and Hyphomicrobiaceae, which together with Rhodobacter and Chromatiaceae, were likely responsible for PHA storage. In addition, high-sugar feedstock impairs PHA production under PF conditions (fermentative bacteria dominance), which does not occur under FF. This characterization of the communities responsible for PHA accumulation helps to define improved operational strategies for PHA production with PMC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number351
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2022


  • DNA sequencing
  • Domestic wastewater
  • Feast and famine (FF)
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)
  • Microbial communities
  • Permanent feast (PF)
  • Phototrophic mixed cultures (PMC)
  • Phototrophic purple bacteria (PPB)
  • Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA)


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