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Low-quality animal by-product streams for the production of PHA-biopolymers: fats, fat/protein-emulsions and materials with high ash content as low-cost feedstocks

Saad, Victoria; Gutschmann, Björn; Grimm, Thomas; Widmer, Torsten; Neubauer, Peter; Riedel, Sebastian L.

Objective: The rapid accumulation of crude-oil based plastics in the environment is posing a fundamental threat to the future of mankind. The biodegradable and bio-based polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) can replace conventional plastics, however, their current production costs are not competitive and therefore prohibiting PHAs from fulfilling their potential. Results: Different low-quality animal by-products, which were separated by thermal hydrolysis into a fat-, fat/protein-emulsion- and mineral-fat-mixture- (material with high ash content) phase, were successfully screened as carbon sources for the production of PHA. Thereby, Ralstonia eutropha Re2058/pCB113 accumulated the short- and medium-chain-length copolymer poly(hydroxybutyrate- co -hydroxyhexanoate) [P(HB- co -HHx)]. Up to 90 wt% PHA per cell dry weight with HHx-contents of 12–26 mol% were produced in shake flask cultivations. Conclusion: In future, the PHA production cost could be lowered by using the described animal by-product streams as feedstock.
Published in: Biotechnology Letters, 10.1007/s10529-020-03065-y, SpringerNature