Functional stability of a mixed microbial consortium producing PHA from waste carbon sources
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- Coats, E.R., Loge, F.J., Smith, W.A. et al. Appl Biochem Biotechnol (2007) 137: 909. doi:10.1007/s12010-007-9107-6
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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.