Development of a bioprocess to convert PET derived terephthalic acid and biodiesel derived glycerol to medium chain length polyhydroxyalkanoate

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2012 Aug;95(3):623-33. doi: 10.1007/s00253-012-4058-4. Epub 2012 May 15.


Sodium terephthalate (TA) produced from a PET pyrolysis product and waste glycerol (WG) from biodiesel manufacture were supplied to Pseudomonas putida GO16 in a fed-batch bioreactor. Six feeding strategies were employed by altering the sequence of TA and WG feeding. P. putida GO16 reached 8.70 g/l cell dry weight (CDW) and 2.61 g/l PHA in 48 h when grown on TA alone. When TA and WG were supplied in combination, biomass productivity (g/l/h) was increased between 1.3- and 1.7-fold and PHA productivity (g/l/h) was increased 1.8- to 2.2-fold compared to TA supplied alone. The monomer composition of the PHA accumulated from TA or WG was predominantly composed of 3-hydroxydecanoic acid. PHA monomers 3-hydroxytetradeeanoic acid and 3-hydroxytetradecenoic acid were not present in PHA accumulated from TA alone but were present when WG was supplied to the fermentation. When WG was either the sole carbon source or the predominant carbon source supplied to the fermentation the molecular weight of PHA accumulated was lower compared to PHA accumulated when TA was supplied as the sole substrate. Despite similarities in data for the properties of the polymers, PHAs produced with WG present in the PHA accumulation phase were tacky while PHA produced where TA was the sole carbon substrate in the polymer accumulation phase exhibited little or no tackiness at room temperature. The co-feeding of WG to fermentations allows for increased utilisation of TA. The order of feeding of WG and TA has an effect on TA utilisation and polymer properties.

MeSH terms

  • Biomass
  • Carbon / metabolism
  • Fermentation
  • Glycerol / metabolism*
  • Phthalic Acids / metabolism*
  • Polyhydroxyalkanoates / metabolism*
  • Pseudomonas putida / growth & development
  • Pseudomonas putida / metabolism*


  • Phthalic Acids
  • Polyhydroxyalkanoates
  • terephthalic acid
  • Carbon
  • Glycerol