For commercial polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) production the objective is to maximise the fraction of feedstock that ends up as polymer, and minimise biomass growth. In this paper, oxygen limitation was applied to achieve this. Intracellular PHA content in mixed cultures in batch systems operated with low and high DO was compared. It is shown that in microaerophilic conditions a higher fraction of substrate is accumulated as PHA in comparison to high DO conditions, evidenced by elevated intracellular PHA content: in the order of 50% higher in the early stages of accumulation. However, the accumulation capacity is not affected by DO. The PHA content in biomass in both the low and high DO systems reached approximately 35%. The time taken for the PHA content in the low DO system to reach capacity was three times longer than in the high DO system.
Keywords: bioplastic, microaerophilic, mixed culture biopolymer, PHA, storage polymer