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Keywords:

  • Biopolymers;
  • Biomaterials;
  • Polyhydroxyalkanoates;
  • PHA;
  • Sugar cane molasses

Abstract

The main hindrance in the use of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) as a replacement for existing petroleum-based plastics is their high production cost. The carbon source accounts for 50% of the cost for PHA production. Thus, increasing the yield and productivity of PHAs on cheap substrates is an important challenge for biotechnologists to support the commercialization and further applications of these polymers. In this study, we have investigated the use of an agricultural raw material, sugarcane molasses, as the main carbon source for poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (P(3HB)) production by Bacillus cereus SPV. These studies were carried out in both shaken flasks and 2 L bioreactors. Various conditions were evaluated for their effects on biomass and P(3HB) accumulation. A high polymer yield was obtained, 61.07% dry cell weight (DCW) in a 1 L shaken flask study and 51.37% DCW in a 2 L fermenter study. These yields are 50% higher than previously observed with Bacillus cereus SPV. Hence, the results are encouraging and show that sugarcane molasses are a promising carbon source for an economical and commercially viable production of P(3HB).