High production of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) from a wild Bacillus megaterium Bolivian strain



María Soledad Marqués-Calvo, Departament d'Òptica i Optometria, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya-Barcelona TECH, Sant Nebridi 22-08222-Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain. E-mail: marques@oo.upc.edu



Taking into account that a novel strain of Bacillus megaterium was isolated from Uyuni salt lake (Bolivia) in a previous work, the objectives of this new study were to determine the maximal Poly-3-hydroxybutyrate production potential of B. megaterium strain uyuni S29 in an industrial conventional media, the possibility that the strain accumulates different types of polyhydroxyalkanoates, the cellular morphology during the biosynthesis process and the characterization of the produced biopolymers.

Methods and Results

The micro-organism was first tested in a 3-L bioreactor obtaining a high specific growth rate of 1·64 h−1. A second fed-batch experiment was carried out in shaking flasks, reaching up to 70% PHB of cell dry mass. The biosynthesized polymers were extracted by two different extraction procedures and characterized. The results showed that all of them were PHB with thermal properties different to the conventional PHB. The micrographs taken by TEM show the different cell morphology during the fermentation process.


In this previous study, the strain not only grew properly in the industrial conditions proposed without spore formation, but also produced and accumulated a large content of PHB, never reached before for its genus. Therefore, if the culture conditions can be optimized, the biopolymer production could be increased.

Significance and Impact of the Study

The impact of the study has related to the area of the biomaterials and their production. The study provides new data related to the high production of PHB from the wild novel strain B. megaterium uyuni S29, the highest polymer accumulation for the genus Bacillus without spores formation.