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Cabrera, F., Torres-Aravena, A., Pinto-Ibieta, F., Campos, J. L., & Jeison, D. (2021). On-Line Control of Feast/Famine Cycles to Improve PHB Accumulation during Cultivation of Mixed Microbial Cultures in Sequential Batch Reactors. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 18(23), 12611.
Abstract: Production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) has generated great interest as building blocks for bioplastic production. Their production using mixed microbial cultures represents an interesting alternative, since it enables the use of organic wastes as a carbon source. Feast/famine strategy is a common way to promote selection of microorganisms with PHA accumulation capacity. However, when using waste sources, changes in substrate concentration are expected, that may affect performance and efficiency of the process. This study showed how the dissolved oxygen level can be used for online control of the cycle time, ensuring that the desired feast/famine ratio is effectively applied. An operation strategy is presented and validated, using sequential batch reactors fed with acetate as the carbon source. Production of polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) was studied, which is the expected type of PHA to be synthetized when using acetate as substrate. Two reactors were operated by applying the proposed control strategy, to provide F/F ratios of 0.2 and 0.6, respectively. A third reactor was operated with a fixed cycle time, for comparison purposes. Results showed that the reactor that operated at an F/F ratio of 0.6 promoted higher biomass productivity and PHB content, as a result of a better use of available time, preventing unnecessary long famine times. The application of the tested strategy is a simple a reliable way to promote a better performance of feast/famine-based bioreactors involving mixed microbial cultures for PHB production.