Comparative study of polyhydroxyalkanoates production from acidified and anaerobically treated brewery wastewater using enriched mixed microbial culture

Pravesh Tamang , Rintu Banerjee , Stephan Köster , Regina Nogueira


Received March 23, 2018,Revised , Accepted September 03, 2018, Available online September 18, 2018

Volume 31,2019,Pages 137-146

The production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) from wastewaters using microbial mixed cultures (MMC) has been attracting increased interest because of PHA's biodegradability characteristics. Production of PHA by an MMC enriched with PHA-accumulating bacteria was compared using anaerobically treated and acidified brewery wastewaters under various feeding strategies, namely pulse and batch feed addition. To obtain an enriched MMC, a sequencing batch reactor was inoculated with activated sludge fed with acetate and subjected to aerobic dynamic feeding. The enriched MMC was able to accumulate PHA up to 72.6% of cell dry weight (CDW) with pulse addition of acetate controlled by the dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration in the reactor. In a batch accumulation experiment with acetate, the PHA content achieved (28.5% CDW) was less than that of the pulse feeding strategy with the same amount of acetate (~ 2000 mg C/L). Using anaerobically treated and acidified brewery wastewater fed in pulses, the maximum PHA accumulated by the enriched MMC was similar for both wastewaters (45% CDW), in spite of the higher volatile fatty acid concentration in acidified brewery wastewater. The pulse feed addition controlled by the DO concentration was difficult to implement for wastewater as compared to acetate because the difference in DO concentration between substrate availability and depletion was low. For the batch addition of acidified wastewater, a slightly lower PHA content (39% CDW) was obtained. These results show that both brewery wastewaters can be utilized for PHA production with a similar maximum PHA storage capacity.

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