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Improvement of the conversion of polystyrene to polyhydroxyalkanoate through the manipulation of the microbial aspect of the process: a nitrogen feeding strategy for bacterial cells in a stirred tank reactor.

Research paper by Miriam M Goff, Patrick G PG Ward, Kevin E KE O'Connor

Indexed on: 15 Jun '07Published on: 15 Jun '07Published in: Journal of biotechnology



Abstract

Pseudomonas putida CA-3 has been shown to accumulate the biodegradable plastic polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) when fed styrene or polystyrene pyrolysis oil as the sole carbon and energy source under nitrogen limiting growth conditions (67 mg nitrogen per litre at time 0). Batch fermentation of P. putida CA-3 grown on styrene or polystyrene pyrolysis oil in a stirred tank reactor yields PHA at 30% of the cell dry weight (CDW). The feeding of nitrogen at a rate of 1mg N/l/h resulted in a 1.1-fold increase in the percentage of CDW accumulated as PHA. An increase in the rate of nitrogen feeding up to 1.5mg N/l/h resulted in further increases in the percentage of the cell dry weight composed of PHA. However, feeding rates of 1.75 and 2mg N/l/h resulted in dramatic decreases in the percentage of cell dry weight composed of PHA. Interestingly nitrogen was not detectable in the growth medium after 16 h, in any of the growth conditions tested. A higher cell density was observed in cells supplied with nitrogen and thus further increases in the overall production of PHA were observed through nitrogen feeding. The highest yield of PHA was 0.28 g PHA per g styrene supplied with a nitrogen feeding rate of 1.5mg/l/h.