Substrate versatility of polyhydroxyalkanoate producing glycerol grown bacterial enrichment culture

Helena Moralejo-Gárate, Robbert Kleerebezem, Anuska Mosquera-Corral, José Luis Campos, Tania Palmeiro-Sánchez, Mark C.M. van Loosdrecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Waste-based polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) production by bacterial enrichments generally follows a three step strategy in which first the wastewater is converted into a volatile fatty acid rich stream that is subsequently used as substrate in a selector and biopolymer production units. In this work, a bacterial community with high biopolymer production capacity was enriched using glycerol, a non-fermented substrate. The substrate versatility and PHA production capacity of this community was studied using glucose, lactate, acetate and xylitol as substrate. Except for xylitol, very high PHA producing capacities were obtained. The PHA accumulation was comparable or even higher than with glycerol as substrate. This is the first study that established a high PHA content (≈70wt%) with glucose as substrate in a microbial enrichment culture. The results presented in this study support the development of replacing pure culture based PHA production by bacterial enrichment cultures. A process where mixtures of substrates can be easily handled and the acidification step can potentially be avoided is described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-198
Number of pages9
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - 11 Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacterial enrichment
  • Bioplastic
  • Biopolymer
  • Glycerol


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