Utilizing the crop waste of date palm fruit to biosynthesize polyhydroxyalkanoate bioplastics with favorable properties.

Research paper by Diya D Alsafadi, Mohammad I MI Ibrahim, Khalid A KA Alamry, Mahmoud A MA Hussein, Aya A Mansour

Indexed on: 12 Jun '20Published on: 12 Jun '20Published in: Science of the Total Environment


Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), a family of biodegradable and renewable biopolymers that could potentially play a significant role in bioeconomy. In this study we investigated the potential of date waste (DW) biomass as feedstock to produce PHA by the halophilic archaeon Haloferax mediterranei. The concentration of essential trace elements for H. mediterranei cells during growth and PHA biopolymer accumulation was optimized. A maximum cell dry mass of (CDM) (12.8 g L) and PHA concentration of (3.20 g L) were achieved in DW extract media that was not supplemented with trace elements, indicating that DW is a promising source for trace elements. The cultivation was scaled-up to fed-batch bioreactor fermentations under non-sterile conditions and resulted in CDM and PHA content of 18.0 g L and 25%, respectively. The produced PHA was confirmed to be poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) with high 3-hydroxyvalerate (3 HV) content of 18.0 mol%. This 3 HV molar percent was achieved without the addition of expensive precursors. The PHBV is of high molecular weight (746.0 kDa) and narrow polydispersity (PDI = 1.5), and displayed reduced melting at 148.1 °C. The X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis showed that the PHBV has amorphous nature which increases the degradation rates and workability of the biopolymer. The isotopic ratio C/C (δ C) for PHBV was found to be - 19.1‰, which indicated that H. mediterranei prefers lighter bonds to break and uses the lighter atoms for the biosynthesis of PHBV. Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.