Utilization of palm oil mill effluent for polyhydroxyalkanoate production and nutrient removal using statistical design

  • M. F. Md. Din
  • M. PonrajEmail author
  • M. Van Loosdrecht
  • Z. Ujang
  • S. Chelliapan
  • V. Zambare
Original Paper


The optimization for poly-β-hydroxyalkanoate production was carried out with nutrient removal efficiency for total organic carbon (TOC), phosphate, and nitrate from palm oil mill effluent waste. The experiment was conducted in a fabricated fed-batch reactor and the data obtained was analyzed using central composite rotatable design and factorial design for response surface methodology as a systematic approach for designing the experiment statistically to obtain valid results with minimum effort, time, and resources. The analysis of numerical optimization with propagation of error showed that 66 % of poly-β-hydroxyalkanoate production can be obtained with nutrient removal of TOC and nitrate by 19 and 3 %, respectively. However, phosphate removal efficiency was not found to be much effective. More over, the chemical oxygen demand: nitrogen phosphate (509 g/g N), chemical oxygen demand: phosphate (200 g/g P), air flow rate (0.59 L/min), substrate feeding rate (20 mL/min), and cycle length (20 h) were the optimized variables for maximum poly-β-hydroxyalkanoate production and nutrient removal.


Biopolymer Nitrate removal Palm oil mill effluent Phosphate removal Statistical design 



The authors are pleased to acknowledge the Ministry of Science and Innovation (MOSTI) for providing the research grant (IRPA, vot 74262) and National Foundation for Tropical Country (WOTRO) of the Netherlands for financial support. We are also grateful to Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and Technical University of Delft for their facilities and training opportunities.


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. F. Md. Din
    • 1
  • M. Ponraj
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. Van Loosdrecht
    • 3
  • Z. Ujang
    • 2
  • S. Chelliapan
    • 1
  • V. Zambare
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of Civil EngineeringInstitute of Environmental and Water Resource Management (IPASA), Water Research Alliance, Universiti Teknologi MalaysiaSkudaiMalaysia
  2. 2.Faculty of Natural and Chemical EngineeringUniversiti Teknologi MalaysiaSkudaiMalaysia
  3. 3.Kluyver Laboratory for Biotechnology, Department of Biochemical EngineeringDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Sequence Biotech Pvt. Ltd.Dist-NashikIndia

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