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Factors affecting the economics of polyhydroxyalkanoate production by bacterial fermentation

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Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) have been attracting considerable attention as biodegradable substitutes for conventional polymers. To reduce their production cost, a great deal of effort has been devoted to developing better bacterial strains and more efficient fermentation/recovery processes. In this paper, several factors affecting the production cost of PHA, such as PHA productivity, content and yield, the cost of the carbon substrate, and the recovery method were reviewed. A sensitivity analysis was also carried out with respect to these factors and with a view to scale-up. Several production processes were designed on the basis of the reported fermentation and recovery results, and were economically evaluated. PHA productivity only affects equipment-related costs, but PHA content has multiple effects on the process economics. Development of an economical and efficient recovery method is also important to the overall economics of PHA production.

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Received: 10 August 1998 / Accepted: 26 September 1998

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Choi, J., Lee, S. Factors affecting the economics of polyhydroxyalkanoate production by bacterial fermentation. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 51, 13–21 (1999).

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