The effects of recovered residues on the characteristics of polyhydroxy(butyrate-co-valerate) (PHBV) produced from mixed microbial cultures (MMCs) fed with cheese whey, olive oil mill wastewater, or a synthetic mixture of acetic and propionic acid were investigated. The different types of MMC PHBVs were extracted and purified with different downstream routes; this enabled the recovery of polymers with different hydroxyvalerate contents and different residue types and levels, ranging from 0 to 11%. The results indicate overall that the recovery of residues together with the biopolymer brought benefits to the melt processability of these MMC PHBVs. Impurities triggered thermal degradation at smaller temperatures, promoted melting at lower temperatures, acted as thermal stabilizers, improved the melt viscosity, and enhanced the shear thinning. The degree of crystallinity of the aged samples was not affected by the impurities, but the crystallites size increased. MMC PHBVs recovered with residues containing more proteins showed better thermal stability, whereas MMC PHBVs containing more inorganic residues showed better melt viscoelastic properties. The results of this study show that impurities recovered together with the MMC PHBVs introduced changes to their thermal, semicrystalline, and rheological properties; these changes, in some cases, were detrimental, but they were also potentially advantageous to the processing and conversion of these materials into products such as packages.
- biopolymers and renewable polymers
- thermal properties