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Production of Polyhydroxyalkanoates from Fatty Wastes

Povolo, Silvana, Romanelli , Maria Giovanna, Fontana, Federico, Basaglia, Marina, Casella, Sergio
Journal of polymers and the environment 2012 v.20 no.4 pp. 944-949
animal fats and oils, animals, bacteria, composite polymers, gas chromatography, hydrolysis, industrial applications, polyhydroxyalkanoates, triacylglycerol lipase, triacylglycerols, vegetable oil, vegetables, wastes
The production of polyesters from triglyceride containing substrates was investigated. A first filter step based on lipase activity was followed and those bacteria potentially able to degrade oils or animal fats were further tested for their polymer accumulation properties, selected and kept for further studies. In a second step, bacteria were directly grown on animal fats and/or vegetable oils, and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) accumulation was verified under appropriate incubation conditions. Each substrate, whether of animal or vegetable derivation, supported the growth of a number of the newly isolated strains and among those, some strains were also found to produce reasonably high amounts of PHA. The repeat-unit composition of the polyesters was determined by gas chromatography (GC) analysis of the ß-hydroxyalkanoate methyl esters from the hydrolyzed polymer and some class of co-polymers were also detected. These properties, coupled with the ability of some of the selected isolates to grow and produce lipases on a minimal medium, could be considered as promising in view of possible industrial applications. The overall results indicate that PHAs could be produced from waste containing considerable amounts of fat, oil and grease (FOG), that generally need to be treated for their disposal.