Maple sap, an abundant natural product especially in Canada, is rich in sucrose and thus may represent an ideal renewable feedstock for the production of a wide variety of value-added products. In the present study, maple sap or sucrose was employed as a carbon source to Alcaligenes latus for the production of poly-β-hydroxybutyrate (PHB). In shake flasks, the biomass obtained from both the sap and sucrose were 4.4 ± 0.5 and 2.9 ± 0.3 g/L, and the PHB contents were 77.6 ± 1.5 and 74.1 ± 2.0%, respectively. Subsequent batch fermentation (10 L sap) resulted in the formation of 4.2 ± 0.3 g/L biomass and a PHB content of 77.0 ± 2.6%. The number average molecular weights of the PHB produced by A. latus from maple sap and pure sucrose media were 300 ± 66 × 103 and 313 ± 104 × 103 g/mol, respectively. Near-infrared, 1H magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and 13C-MRI spectra of the microbially produced PHB completely matched those obtained with a reference material of poly[(R)-3-hydroxybutyric acid]. The polymer was found to be optically active with [α]25D equaled to −7.87 in chloroform. The melting point (177.0°C) and enthalpy of fusion (77.2 J/g) of the polymer were also in line with those reported, i.e., 177°C and 81 J/g, respectively.
Maple sap Sucrose Biopolymer Poly-β-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) Alcaligenes latus