• cellulose;
  • hemicellulose;
  • polylactide;
  • poly-ß-hydroxybutyrate;
  • renewable resources;
  • thermal pressure hydrolysis;
  • wheat straw



Production of poly-ß-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) and the chemical basic compound lactate from the agricultural crop ‘wheat straw’ as a renewable carbon resource.

Methods and Results

A thermal pressure hydrolysis procedure for the breakdown of wheat straw was applied. By this means, the wheat straw was converted into a partially solubilized hemicellulosic fraction, consisting of sugar monomers, and an insoluble cellulosic fraction, containing cellulose, lignin and a small portion of hemicellulose. The insoluble cellulosic fraction was further hydrolysed by commercial enzymes in monomers. The production of PHB from the sugar monomers originating from hemicellulose or cellulose was achieved by the isolates Bacillus licheniformis IMW KHC 3 and Bacillus megaterium IMW KNaC 2. The basic chemical compound, lactate, a starting compound for the production of polylactide (PLA), was formed by some heterofermentative lactic acid bacteria (LAB) able to grow with xylose from the hemicellulosic wheat straw hydrolysate.


Two strains were selected which were able to produce PHB from the sugars both from the hemicellulosic and the cellulosic fraction of the wheat straw. In addition, some of the LAB tested were capable of producing lactate from the hemicellulosic hydrolysate.

Significance and Impact of the Study

The renewable resource wheat straw could serve as a substrate for microbiologically produced basic chemicals and biodegradable plastics.