The impact of pH control on the volumetric productivity of mixed culture PHA production from fermented molasses

Adrian Oehmen, Fatima V. Pinto, Vera Silva, Maria G. E. Albuquerque, Maria A. M. Reis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) production via mixed microbial cultures (MMCs) can potentially decrease process operational costs as compared to conventional pure culture techniques. However, the volumetric productivity of PHA by MMCs must be augmented to increase its cost competitiveness. For this purpose, a three-stage bioreactor system was operated in this study, with (i) anaerobic fermentation of molasses, (ii) culture selection, and (iii) PHA accumulation and harvesting stages. In stage2, bioreactor operation with pH control at 8 led to twice the biomass concentration (up to 8 g VSS L-1, where VSS is the volatile suspended solids) as compared to operation without pH control (maximum pH 9). No loss in the specific PHA storage efficiency was observed (PHA content up to 57.5% and PHA storage rate up to 0.27 Cmol PHA Cmol X-1 h(-1), where X is the active biomass), thereby resulting in twice the volumetric PHA production rate. The limited biomass growth at the higher pH level was not due to nutrient limitation, but likely to a shift in the microbial community. It is hypothesized that the increased enrichment of Azoarcus at pH 8 led to higher PHA productivity. pH control in the culture selection stage can lead to enhanced PHA production from MMCs, improving the viability of the process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-152
Number of pages10
JournalEngineering In Life Sciences
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

Keywords

  • Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)
  • Mixed microbial cultures (MMC)
  • pH control
  • Phosphorus
  • Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA)
  • SEQUENCING BATCH REACTOR
  • OIL MILL EFFLUENTS
  • ORGANIC LOAD RATE
  • ACTIVATED-SLUDGE
  • BIODEGRADABLE POLYMERS
  • MICROBIAL CULTURES
  • ESCHERICHIA-COLI
  • WASTE-WATER
  • POLYHYDROXYALKANOATES
  • PRECIPITATION

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