Production of polyhydroxybutyrate from industrial flue gas by microbial electrosynthesis

A. Langsdorf, J. P. Schütz, R. Ulber, M. Stöckl, D. Holtmann



The aim of this work was to produce the biopolymer polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) from industrial flue gas as CO2 source and electrolysis originating hydrogen via microbial electrosynthesis. Besides the laboratory experiments, the experiments were carried out under industrial conditions directly on-site in a cogeneration plant. We were able to demonstrate that the use of flue gas as a CO2 source has no detectable negative effect on bacterial growth and PHB production in comparison to a pure gas mixture. In an electrochemical H-cell
333 ± 44 mg L−1 PHB were obtained, which corresponds to a PHB content of 43 ± 3 % of the cell dry weight. By using flue gas for the production of the biopolymer PHB, not only CO2 emissions are reduced, but also possible environmental pollution from non-biodegradable plastics. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that the production of PHB from flue gas has been demonstrated using Cupriavidus necator.

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