Pilot-scale production of poly--hydroxybutyrate with the cyanobacterium Synechocytis sp. CCALA192 in a non-sterile tubular photobioreactor
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The biopolymer poly--hydroxybutyrate (PHB) can be used as a promising bioplastic. It has a broad range of applications and is degraded relatively rapidly by soil organisms. Like many prokaryotes, the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. CCALA192 produces this biopolymer as a storage compound, especially under nutrient limitation. In a 200-L tubular photobioreactor, we cultivated Synechocystis sp. CCALA192 semi-continuously over a period of 75days with CO2 as sole carbon source. A two-stage cultivation strategy was performed, where after 5–7days nitrogen was depleted and the culture started to produce PHB and gradually turned from blue-green to yellow. After 16–20days, 90% of the culture were harvested and the residual 10% were used as inoculum for the following cycle. The harvested culture had an average biomass concentration of 1.0g/L with an average PHB content of 12.5% of cell dry weight. After restarting with fresh nutrients, the yellow culture turned blue-green again and degraded the PHB within 24–48h. When nitrogen of the medium was consumed, PHB was produced again and the cycle continued. In the late stage of each production cycle, a ripening process was observed, where no CO2 was consumed but the PHB concentration was still rising at the expense of the existing glycogen rich biomass. Establishing a stable Synechocystis sp. CCALA192 culture under non-sterile conditions turned out to be difficult, as this small unicellular organism is very sensitive and easily grazed by protozoa. Therefore, a special cultivation strategy with partially anoxic conditions was necessary.
Document typePeer reviewed
SourceAlgal Research. 2018, vol. 34, issue 1, p. 116-125.