Session 5: Bioprocessing And Separations R&D

Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology

, Volume 137, Issue 1, pp 909-925

First online:

Functional stability of a mixed microbial consortium producing PHA from waste carbon sources

  • Erik R. CoatsAffiliated withDepartment of Civil Engineering, University of Idaho
  • , Frank J. LogeAffiliated withDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California Davis Email author 
  • , William A. SmithAffiliated withBiotechnology Department, Idaho National Laboratory
  • , David N. ThompsonAffiliated withBiotechnology Department, Idaho National Laboratory
  • , Michael P. WolcottAffiliated withDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Washington State University

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Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) represent an environmentally effective alternative to synthetic thermoplastics; however, current production practices are not sustainable. In this study, PHA production was accomplished in sequencing batch bioreactors utilizing real wastewaters and mixed microbial consortia from municipal activated sludge as inoculum. Polymer production reached 85, 53, and 10% of the cell dry weight from methanol-enriched pulp and paper mill foul condensate, fermented municipal primary solids, and biodiesel wastewater, respectively. Using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of 16S-rDNA from polymerase chain reaction-amplified DNA extracts, distinctly different communities were observed between and within wastewaters following enrichment. Most importantly, functional stability was maintained despite differing and contrasting microbial populations.

Index Entries

Activated sludge denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis polyhydroxyalkanoates wastewater primary solids fermentate foul condensate environmental biotechnology