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Volatile Fatty Acids as Carbon Sources for Polyhydroxyalkanoates Production

Waste of industrial origin produced from synthetic materials are a serious threat to the natural environment. The ending resources of fossil raw materials and increasingly restrictive legal standards for the management of plastic waste have led to research on the use of biopolymers, which, due to their properties, may be an ecological alternative to currently used petrochemical polymers. Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) have gained much attention in recent years as the next generation of environmentally friendly materials. Currently, a lot of research is being done to reduce the costs of the biological process of PHA synthesis, which is the main factor limiting the production of PHAs on the industrial scale. The volatile fatty acids (VFAs) produced by anaerobic digestion from organic industrial and food waste, and various types of wastewater could be suitable carbon sources for PHA production. Thus, reusing the organic waste, while reducing the future fossil fuel, originated from plastic waste. PHA production from VFAs seem to be a good approach since VFAs composition determines the constituents of PHAs polymer and is of great influence on its properties. In order to reduce the overall costs of PHA production to a more reasonable level, it will be necessary to design a bioprocess that maximizes VFAs production, which will be beneficial for the PHA synthesis. Additionally, a very important factor that affects the profitable production of PHAs from VFAs is the selection of a microbial producer that will effectively synthesize the desired bioproduct. PHA production from VFAs has gained significant interest since VFAs composition determines the constituents of PHA polymer. Thus far, the conversion of VFAs into PHAs using pure bacterial cultures has received little attention, and the majority of studies have used mixed microbial communities for this purpose. This review discusses the current state of knowledge on PHAs synthesized by microorganisms cultured on VFAs.

Publication date: 20/01/2021

Author: Karolina Szacherska

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym13030321

MDPI (polymers)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.