Journal article Open Access
Kamravamanesh, Donya; Pflügl, Stefan; Nischkauer, Winfried; Limbeck, Andreas; Lackner, Maximilian; Herwig, Christoph
Poly-β-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) production from CO2 has the potential to reduce the production cost of this biodegradable polyesters, and also to make the material more sustainable compared to utilization of sugar feedstocks. In this study the unicellular cyanobacterium, Synechocystis sp. PCC 6714 has been identified as an unexplored potential organism for production of PHB. Synechocystis sp. PCC 6714 was studied under various cultivation conditions and nutritional limitations. Combined effects of nitrogen and phosphorus deficiency led to highest PHB accumulation under photoautotrophic conditions. Multivariate experimental design and quantitative bioprocess development methodologies were used to identify the key cultivation parameters for PHB accumulation. Biomass growth and PHB accumulation were studied under controlled defined conditions in a lab-scale photobioreactor. Specific growth rates were fourfold higher in photobioreactor experiments when cultivation conditions were controlled. After 14 days of cultivation in nitrogen and phosphorus, limited media intracellular PHB levels reached up to 16.4% from CO2. The highest volumetric production rate of PHB was 59 ± 6 mg L−1 day−1. Scanning electron microscopy of isolated PHB granules of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6714 cultivated under nitrogen and phosphorus limitations showed an average diameter of 0.7 μm. The results of this study might contribute towards a better understanding of photoautotrophic PHB production from cyanobacteria.