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Bioengineering 2015, 2(2), 94-121; doi:10.3390/bioengineering2020094

Potential and Prospects of Continuous Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) Production

1
Office of Research Management and Service, c/o Institute of Chemistry, Research Group Interfaces, Division of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, University of Graz, NAWI Graz, Heinrichstrasse 28/III, Graz A-8010, Austria
2
ARENA-Association for Resource Efficient and Sustainable Technologies, Inffeldgasse 21b, Graz 8010, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Anthony Guiseppi-Elie
Received: 12 March 2015 / Revised: 20 April 2015 / Accepted: 25 May 2015 / Published: 29 May 2015
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Abstract

Together with other so-called “bio-plastics”, Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are expected to soon replace established polymers on the plastic market. As a prerequisite, optimized process design is needed to make PHAs attractive in terms of costs and quality. Nowadays, large-scale PHA production relies on discontinuous fed-batch cultivation in huge bioreactors. Such processes presuppose numerous shortcomings such as nonproductive time for reactor revamping, irregular product quality, limited possibility for supply of certain carbon substrates, and, most of all, insufficient productivity. Therefore, single- and multistage continuous PHA biosynthesis is increasingly investigated for production of different types of microbial PHAs; this goes for rather crystalline, thermoplastic PHA homopolyesters as well as for highly flexible PHA copolyesters, and even blocky-structured PHAs consisting of alternating soft and hard segments. Apart from enhanced productivity and constant product quality, chemostat processes can be used to elucidate kinetics of cell growth and PHA formation under constant process conditions. Furthermore, continuous enrichment processes constitute a tool to isolate novel powerful PHA-producing microbial strains adapted to special environmental conditions. The article discusses challenges, potential and case studies for continuous PHA production, and shows up new strategies to further enhance such processes economically by developing unsterile open continuous processes combined with the application of inexpensive carbon feedstocks. View Full-Text
Keywords: bioreactor cascade; chemostat; continuous process; copolyester; extremophiles; inexpensive carbon sources; polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA); process design; unsterile process bioreactor cascade; chemostat; continuous process; copolyester; extremophiles; inexpensive carbon sources; polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA); process design; unsterile process
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Koller, M.; Braunegg, G. Potential and Prospects of Continuous Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) Production. Bioengineering 2015, 2, 94-121.

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