Production of polyhydroxyalkanoates from waste frying oil by Cupriavidus necator
1 University of Wolverhampton, School of Applied Sciences, Wulfruna Street, WV1 1SB, Wolverhampton, UK
2 University of Silesia, Department of Microbiology, Jagiellonska 28, 40-032 Katowice, Poland
AMB Express 2011, 1:11 doi:10.1186/2191-0855-1-11Published: 10 June 2011
Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are biopolymers, which can replace petrochemical plastics in many applications. However, these bioplastics are currently far more expensive than petrochemical plastics. Many researchers are investigating the use of inexpensive substrates derived from waste streams. Waste frying oil is abundant and can be used in PHA production without filtration.
Cupriavidus necator (formerly known as Ralstonia eutropha) is a versatile organism for the production of PHAs. Small-scale batch fermentation studies have been set up, using different concentrations of pure vegetable oil, heated vegetable oil and waste frying oil. These oils are all rapeseed oils.
It has been shown that Cupriavidus necator produced the homopolymer polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) from the rapeseed oils. The achieved PHB concentration from waste frying oil was 1.2 g/l, which is similar to a concentration that can be obtained from glucose. The PHB harvest from pure oil and heated oil was 0.62 g/l and 0.9 g/l respectively. A feed of waste frying oil could thus achieve more biopolymer than pure vegetable oil. While the use of a waste product is beneficial from a life-cycle perspective, PHB is not the only product that can be made from waste oil. The collection of waste frying oil is becoming more widespread, making waste oil a good alternative to purified oil or glucose for PHB production.