Production of Polyhydroxyalkanoates Using Hydrolyzates of Spruce Sawdust: Comparison of Hydrolyzates Detoxification by Application of Overliming, Active Carbon, and Lignite

Bioengineering (Basel). 2017 May 28;4(2):53. doi: 10.3390/bioengineering4020053.


Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are bacterial polyesters which are considered biodegradable alternatives to petrochemical plastics. PHAs have a wide range of potential applications, however, the production cost of this bioplastic is several times higher. A major percentage of the final cost is represented by the price of the carbon source used in the fermentation. Burkholderia cepacia and Burkholderia sacchari are generally considered promising candidates for PHA production from lignocellulosic hydrolyzates. The wood waste biomass has been subjected to hydrolysis. The resulting hydrolyzate contained a sufficient amount of fermentable sugars. Growth experiments indicated a strong inhibition by the wood hydrolyzate. Over-liming and activated carbon as an adsorbent of inhibitors were employed for detoxification. All methods of detoxification had a positive influence on the growth of biomass and PHB production. Furthermore, lignite was identified as a promising alternative sorbent which can be used for detoxification of lignocellulose hydrolyzates. Detoxification using lignite instead of activated carbon had lower inhibitor removal efficiency, but greater positive impact on growth of the bacterial culture and overall PHA productivity. Moreover, lignite is a significantly less expensive adsorbent in comparison with activated charcoal and; moreover, used lignite can be simply utilized as a fuel to, at least partially, cover heat and energetic demands of fermentation, which should improve the economic feasibility of the process.

Keywords: Burkholderia; detoxification; lignite; polyhydroxyalkanoates.