ENHANCED BIOSYNTHESIS OF POLY(3-HYDROXYBUTYRATE) FROM POTATO STARCH BY Bacillus cereus STRAIN 64-INS IN A LABORATORY-SCALE FERMENTER
To decrease the polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) production cost by supplying renewable carbon sources has been an important aspect in terms of commercializing this biodegradable polymer. The production of biodegradable poly(3-hydroxyalkanoates) (PHA) from raw potato starch by the Bacillus cereus 64-INS strain isolated from domestic sludge has been studied in a lab-scale fermenter. The bacterium was screened for the degradation of raw potato starch by a starch hydrolysis method and for PHA production by Nile blue A and Sudan black B staining. Shake-flask cultures of the bacterium with glucose [2% (w/v)] or raw potato starch [2% (w/v)] produced PHA of 64.35% and 34.68% of dry cell weight (DCW), respectively. PHA production was also carried out in a 5-L fermenter under control conditions that produced 2.78 g/L of PHA and PHA content of 60.53% after 21 hr of fermentation using potato starch as the sole carbon source. Gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) analyses confirmed that the extracted PHA contained poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) as its major constituent (>99.99%) irrespective of the carbon source used. The article describes, for what we believe to be the first time, PHB production being carried out without any enzymatic or chemical treatment of potato starch at higher levels by fermentation. More work is required to optimize the PHB yield with respect to starch feeding strategies.