Polyhydroxyalkanoates by Mixed Microbial Cultures: The Journey so Far and Challenges Ahead

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In nature, the production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) is a characteristic of diverse taxonomic groups. Despite the well-known function as internal carbon and energy sources, other roles can be attributed to PHA, namely as electron donors or compatible solutes, among others. The emergence of next generation sequencing completely changes the determination of microbial communities’ composition, in particular with the lowering of their prices in recent years. This chapter explains that despite the huge number of works published and projects funded, PHA produced by Mixed microbial cultures (MMC) are far from commercialization. The development of PHA production processes using MMCs and real waste has been a very interesting journey, but it is far from reaching its destination. In recent years, several issues were addressed but others remained without answer. Three main challenges were identified, one related to the substrates used, and two related to the post-production process, namely downstream processing and polymer characterization.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Polyhydroxyalkanoates: Kinetics, Bioengineering and Industrial Aspects
EditorsMartin Koller
Place of PublicationBoca Raton
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)9780429296635
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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