Effect of pH on the production of bacterial polyhydroxyalkanoates by mixed cultures enriched under periodic feeding

M. Villano, M. Beccari, D. Dionisi, S. Lampis, A. Miccheli, G. Vallini, M. Majone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

77 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This research investigated the effect of pH on polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) production by mixedculturesenriched in a sequencing batch reactor (SBR) starting from activated sludge. The enrichment was performed with a mixture of acetic (85% on COD basis) and propionic (15%) acid, at an organic load rate of 8.5 gCOD/L/day over the range of pH from 7.5 to 9.5.

The enrichedcultures were all able to store the copolymer poly(3-hydroxybutyrate/3-hydroxyvalerate). Higher polymer production rates and yields (389 mg PHA (as COD)/g non-polymer biomass (as COD)/h and 0.53 COD/COD, respectively) were observed when the pH in the SBR was controlled at 7.5, with Lampropedia hyalina as the dominant bacterial species of the microbial community.

PHA composition was also strongly affected by the pH. Indeed, batch tests showed that hydroxyvalerate (HV) content in the copolymer increased with increasing pH up to about 48% (mol/mol) at pH 9.5. Interestingly, the possibility of enhancing the HV content was also verified by performing batch tests at a more alkaline pH value than that in the SBR. In conclusion, this paper suggests that pH control is a main tool to tune HV content in the PHA, regardless of the feed composition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)714-723
Number of pages10
JournalProcess Biochemistry
Volume45
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2010

Keywords

  • pH
  • polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA)
  • storage
  • sequencing batch reactor (SBR)
  • organic load rate (OLR)
  • denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE)

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