Enhanced polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) production from the organic fraction of municipal solid waste by using mixed microbial culture
Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) was produced in bench-scale sequencing batch reactors (SBRs) fed olive pomace fermentate containing a mixed microbial consortium. Initial anaerobic fermentation in a sequencing batch fermentor (SBF) produced soluble carbon compounds, mainly organic acids. SBF effluent was centrifuged, removing solids, and fed into a SBR where intracellular PHA was produced. Buffer pre-treatment of diluted olive pomace increased organic acid production 75% in SBF fermentate over no pre-treatment. Hydraulic retention time (HRT), solids retention time (SRT), pomace concentration/dilution, and aerobic operation vs. anoxic/oxic cycling were studied to improve PHA formation. Maximum %PHA achieved was 39% (on a dry-weight cell basis), and the highest volumetric productivity was 0.042 g PHA/L-day under fully aerobic conditions. The highest PHA conversion yield was 0.3625 g PHA/L fermentate.