Technological watch

An Overview of Recent Advancements in Microbial Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) Production from Dark Fermentation Acidogenic Effluents: A Path to an Integrated Bio-Refinery

Global energy consumption has been increasing in tandem with economic growth motivating researchers to focus on renewable energy sources. Dark fermentative hydrogen synthesis utilizing various biomass resources is a promising, less costly, and less energy-intensive bioprocess relative to other biohydrogen production routes. The generated acidogenic dark fermentative effluent [e.g., volatile fatty acids (VFAs)] has potential as a reliable and sustainable carbon substrate for polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) synthesis. PHA, an important alternative to petrochemical based polymers has attracted interest recently, owing to its biodegradability and biocompatibility. This review illustrates methods for the conversion of acidogenic effluents (VFAs), such as acetate, butyrate, propionate, lactate, valerate, and mixtures of VFAs, into the value-added compound PHA. In addition, the review provides a comprehensive update on research progress of VFAs to PHA conversion and related enhancement techniques including optimization of operational parameters, fermentation strategies, and genetic engineering approaches. Finally, potential bottlenecks and future directions for the conversion of VFAs to PHA are outlined. This review offers insights to researchers on an integrated biorefinery route for sustainable and cost-effective bioplastics production.

Publication date: 08/12/2021

Author: Rijuta Ganesh Saratale

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym13244297

MDPI (polymers)


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