, Volume 98-100, Issue 1-9, pp 655-662

Production of specific copolymers of polyhydroxyalkanoates from industrial waste

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Polyhydroxyalkanoates, biodegradable plastics with the desired physical and chemical properties of conventional synthetic plastics, are extensively investigated. In this study, specific bacterial strains produced specific copolymers from food waste. Copolymers of HB and HV (poly[3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate]) were obtained using various ratios of butyric acid (C4) and valeric acid (C5) as carbon sources. The C4 to C5 ratio affected the melting points of the copolymers. Melting and glass transition temperatures and many other thermal properties are important parameters relative to in-service polymer applications. Higher ratios of butyrate to valerate gave higher melting points. When a mixed culture of activated sludge was employed to produce copolymers using food wastes as nutrients, the obtained copolymers showed various monomer compositions. Copolymers with a higher portion of HV were obtained using soy waste; copolymers with less HV were obtained using malt wastes. Pure strains, (i.e., Alcaligenes latus DSM 1122, and DSM 1124, Staphylococcus spp., Klebsiella spp.) produced specific copolymers from food waste. Only Klebsiella spp. produced different copolymers; the ratios of HB:HV were 93:7 and 79:21 from malt waste and soy waste, respectively. The other strains produced polymers of 100% HB. Selecting industrial food wastes as carbon sources can further reduce the cost of producing copolymers.