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Brazilian Journal of Microbiology

Print version ISSN 1517-8382

Abstract

CIESIELSKI, Slawomir  and  PRZYBYLEK, Grzegorz. Volatile fatty acids influence on the structure of microbial communities producing PHAs. Braz. J. Microbiol. [online]. 2014, vol.45, n.2, pp.395-402. ISSN 1517-8382.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-83822014000200005.

Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) can be produced by microorganisms and are a biodegradable alternative to fossil-fuel based plastics. Currently, the focus is on reducing production costs by exploring alternative substrates for PHAs production, and on producing copolymers which are less brittle than monomers. Accordingly, this study used a substrate consisting of wastewater from waste-glycerol fermentation, supplemented with different amounts of acetic and propionic acids. These substrates were used to feed mixed microbial communities enriched from activated sludge in a sequencing batch reactor. A reactor supplemented with 2 mL of acetic acid produced 227.8 mg/L of a homopolymer of hydroxybutyrate (3HB); 4 mL of acetic acid produced 279.8 mg/L 3HB; whereas 4 mL of propionic acid produced 673.0 mg/L of a copolymer of 3HB and 3HV (hydroxyvalerate). Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (RISA) was used to show the differences between the communities created in the reactors. Thauera species predominated in biomass that produced 3HB; Paracoccus denitrificans in the biomass that produced 3HB-co-3HV. Because P. denitrificans produced the more desirable copolymer, it may be advantageous to promote its growth in PHAs-producing reactors by adding propionate.

Keywords : biopolymers; microbial community; polyhydroxyalkanoates; RISA; Thauera sp.

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