Bacterial Synthesis of Polyhydroxyalkanoates Using Renewable Resources



Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are gaining attention due to their resemblance to conventional plastics and complete biodegradability on disposal. The widespread use of this polymer is restricted due to its high production cost. The use of inexpensive and renewable carbon substrates such as agroindustrial wastes and by-products as PHA feedstock can contribute to as much as 40–50 % reduction in the PHA production cost. Gram-positive bacteria such as Bacillus spp. are potential contenders for industrial scale PHA production due to their rapid growth, ability to produce various hydrolytic enzymes, accumulation of copolymers from structurally unrelated carbon sources and lack of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) layer. Therefore, there is a need to screen for bacteria belonging to the genus Bacillus capable of producing appreciable amounts of PHA from complex carbon sources.

The PHA content accumulated by the different Bacillus strains isolated from marine and coastal ecosystems ranged between 39.6 and 62.3 % using glucose as the sole carbon source. Quantitative estimation of PHA accumulated by Bacillus isolates using alternative substrates such as molasses, starch-based wafer residue, citrus fruit waste and coconut oil cake as a sole source of carbon was undertaken. Molasses proved to be an excellent carbon source for growth and polymer production with all the tested isolates, producing more than 50 % PHA as cell dry weight. Citrus fruit waste also promoted biomass and PHA production by submerged cultivation. This study thus emphasizes the potential of Bacillus spp. to produce PHA polymer from diverse renewable low-cost feed stocks at substantially reduced production costs.


Polyhydroxyalkanoates Bacillus Biodegradable Agronomic by-products Submerged cultivation Citrus fruit waste 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesBirla Institute of Technology and Science-PilaniZuarinagarIndia

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