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Enhanced polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) production from the organic fraction of municipal solid waste by using mixed microbial culture

Overview of attention for article published in Biotechnology for Biofuels, August 2017
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Enhanced polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) production from the organic fraction of municipal solid waste by using mixed microbial culture
Published in
Biotechnology for Biofuels, August 2017
DOI 10.1186/s13068-017-0888-8
Pubmed ID

Bianca Colombo, Francesca Favini, Barbara Scaglia, Tommy Pepè Sciarria, Giuliana D’Imporzano, Michele Pognani, Anna Alekseeva, Giorgio Eisele, Cesare Cosentino, Fabrizio Adani


In Europe, almost 87.6 million tonnes of food waste are produced. Despite the high biological value of food waste, traditional management solutions do not consider it as a precious resource. Many studies have reported the use of food waste for the production of high added value molecules. Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) represent a class of interesting bio-polyesters accumulated by different bacterial cells, and has been proposed for production from the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW). Nevertheless, until now, no attention has been paid to the entire biological process leading to the transformation of food waste to organic acids (OA) and then to PHA, getting high PHA yield per food waste unit. In particular, the acid-generating process needs to be optimized, maximizing OA production from OFMSW. To do so, a pilot-scale Anaerobic Percolation Biocell Reactor (100 L in volume) was used to produce an OA-rich percolate from OFMSW which was used subsequently to produce PHA. The optimized acidogenic process resulted in an OA production of 151 g kg(-1) from fresh OFMSW. The subsequent optimization of PHA production from OA gave a PHA production, on average, of 223 ± 28 g kg(-1) total OA fed. Total mass balance indicated, for the best case studied, a PHA production per OFMSW weight unit of 33.22 ± 4.2 g kg(-1) from fresh OFMSW, corresponding to 114.4 ± 14.5 g kg(-1) of total solids from OFMSW. PHA composition revealed a hydroxybutyrate/hydroxyvalerate (%) ratio of 53/47 and Mw of 8∙10(5) kDa with a low polydispersity index, i.e. 1.4. This work showed how by optimizing acidic fermentation it could be possible to get a large amount of OA from OFMSW to be then transformed into PHA. This step is important as it greatly affects the total final PHA yield. Data obtained in this work can be useful as the starting point for considering the economic feasibility of PHA production from OFMSW by using mixed culture.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 140 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 140 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 31 22%
Student > Ph. D. Student 22 16%
Student > Bachelor 20 14%
Student > Doctoral Student 14 10%
Researcher 14 10%
Other 16 11%
Unknown 23 16%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Engineering 25 18%
Environmental Science 19 14%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 17 12%
Chemical Engineering 16 11%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 13 9%
Other 11 8%
Unknown 39 28%