Publication | Peer reviewed papers | Potentiale, Bioenergiesysteme, Logistik

Anaerobic acidification of pressed sugar beet pulp for mcl-polyhydroxyalkanoates fermentation

Published August 2023

Citation: Kacanski M, Knoll L, Nussbaumer M, Neuriter M, Drosg B. Anaerobic acidification of pressed sugar beet pulp for mcl-polyhydroxyalkanoates fermentation. Process Biocemistry.2023:131;235-243,


Anaerobic acidification of pressed sugar beet pulp (PSBP) is a promising strategy for the transition towards a circular economy. In this work, volatile fatty acids were produced by anaerobic acidification of PSBP and subsequently converted to mcl-polyhydroxyalkanoates. The results point to mesophilic acidification as superior to thermophilic one. At the same time, the pH regulated at the value of 6.0 showed a decisive advantage over both the pH of 7.0 and the lack of pH regulation. Furthermore, the conditions with a hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 10 days significantly outperformed those with an HRT of 6 days. The best-performing process (mesophilic, pH controlled at 6, HRT of 10 days) was successfully scaled up to a 250 L reactor, reaching a volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentration of up to 27.8 g L-1. Finally, the produced VFA were investigated as feedstock for mcl-PHA producers, Pseudomonas citronellolis and Pseudomonas putida. Both strains grew and produced PHA successfully, with P. citronellolis reaching a biomass of 15.6 g L-1 with 38% of mcl-PHA, while P. putida grew to 15.2 g L-1 with a polymer content of 31%. This study proves that acidified PSBP is a valuable feedstock for mcl-PHA production and an important approach to developing biorefineries.

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