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Microalgae as source of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) — A review

Costa, Samantha Serra, Miranda, Andréa Lobo, de Morais, Michele Greque, Costa, Jorge Alberto Vieira, Druzian, Janice Izabel
International journal of biological macromolecules 2019 v.131 pp. 536-547
bacteria, biodegradability, bioplastics, carbon dioxide, culture media, energy, fermenters, mechanical properties, microalgae, nutrient requirements, organic carbon, petroleum, polyhydroxyalkanoates, production costs, salts
Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are biopolymers synthesized by different microorganisms and considered substitute powers for petroleum-based plastics because they have similar mechanical properties as synthetic polymers, can be processed in a similar way and are fully biodegradable. Currently commercial PHAs are produced in fermenters using bacteria and large amounts of organic carbon sources and salts in the culture media, accounting for approximately 50% of the total production costs. A greater commercial application of the PHA is limited to a decrease in the cost of production. Several studies suggest that microalgae are a type of microorganisms that can be used to obtain PHAs at a lower cost because they have minimum nutrient requirements for growth and are photoautotrophic in nature, i.e. they use light and CO2 as their main sources of energy. Thus, this work aims to provide a review on the production of PHAs of different microalgae, focusing on the properties and composition of biopolymers, verifying the potential of using these bioplastics instead of petroleum based plastics. Studies of stimulation PHA synthesis by microalgae are still considered incipient. Still, it is clear that microalgae have the potential to produce biopolymers with lower cost and can play a vital role in the environment.