Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 7, pp 3133–3143 | Cite as

Selecting optimal feast-to-famine ratio for a new polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) production system fed by valerate-dominant sludge hydrolysate

  • Jiuxiao Hao
  • Hui Wang
  • Xiujin Wang
Biotechnological products and process engineering


The feast-to-famine ratio (F/F) represents the extent of selective pressure during polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) culture selection. This study evaluated the effects of F/F on a new PHA production system by an enriched culture with valerate-dominant sludge hydrolysate and selected the optimal F/F. After the original F/F 1/3 was modified to 1/1, 1/2, 1/4, and 1/5, F/F did not affect their lengths of feast phase, but affected their biomass growth behaviors during the famine phase and PHA-producing abilities. The optimal F/F was 1/2, and compared with 1/3, it increased the maximal PHA content and the fraction of 3-hydroxyvalerate (3HV) and 3-hydroxy-2-methylvalerate (3H2MV) monomers, with higher productivity and better polymer properties. Although F/F 1/2 impaired the advantage of the dominant genus Delftia, it improved the PHA production rate while decreased biomass growth rate, meanwhile enhancing the utilization and conversion of valerate. These findings indicate that in contrast to previous studies using acetate-dominant substrate for PHA production, the new system fed by valerate-dominant substrate can adopt a higher F/F.


Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) Feast-to-famine ratio (F/F) Valerate-dominant hydrolysate 3-Hydroxyvalerate (3HV) Microbial analysis 



The authors kindly thank Jian Ma and Chongyang Wang for their valuable help in the periodical sludge sampling.


This work was supported by the National Key Research Project on Water Environment Pollution Control in China (no. 2012ZX07313-001) and the Tsinghua University Initiative Scientific Research Program (no. 20101081834, 20121087922).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2018_8799_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (283 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 282kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control, School of EnvironmentTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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