Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 15

Search results for: polyhydroxyalkanoates

15 Extracting Polyhydroxyalkanoates from Waste Sludge of Husbandry Industry Wastewater Treatment Plants

Authors: M. S. Lu, Y. P. Tsai, H. Shu, K. F. Chen, L. L. Lai


This study used sodium hypochlorite/sodium dodecyl sulfate method to successfully extract polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) from the wasted sludge of a husbandry industry wastewater treatment plant. We investigated the optimum operational conditions of three key factors with respect to effectively extract PHAs from husbandry industry wastewater sludge, including the sodium hypochlorite concentration, liquid-solid ratio, and reaction time. The experimental results showed the optimum operational conditions for polyhydroxyalkanoate recovery as follows: (1) being digested by the sodium hypochlorite/sodium dodecyl sulfate solution with 15% (v/v) of hypochlorite concentration, (2) being operated at the condition of 1.25 mLmg-1 of liquid-solid ratio, and (3) being reacted for more than 60 min. Under these conditions, the content of the recovered PHAs was about 53.2±0.66 mgPHAs/gVSS, and the purity of the recovered PHAs was about 78.5±6.91 wt%. The recovered PHAs were further used to produce biodegradable plastics for decomposition test buried in soils. The decomposition test showed 66.5% of the biodegradable plastics produced in the study remained after being buried in soils for 49 days. The cost for extracting PHAs is about 10.3 US$/kgPHAs and is lower than those produced by pure culture methods (12-15 US$/kgPHAs).

Keywords: biodegradable plastic, biopolymers, polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), waste sludge

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14 Characterization of Enhanced Thermostable Polyhydroxyalkanoates

Authors: Ahmad Idi


The biosynthesis and properties of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) are determined by the bacterial strain and the culture condition. Hence this study elucidates the structure and properties of PHA produced by a newly isolated strain of photosynthetic bacterium, Rhodobacter sphaeroides ADZ101 grown under the optimized culture condition. The properties of the accumulated PHA were determined via FTIR, NMR, TGA, and GCMS analyses. The results showed that acetate and ammonia chloride had the highest PHA accumulation with a ratio of 32.5 mM at neutral pH. The structural analyses showed that the polymer comprises both short and medium-chain length monomers ranging from C5, C13, C14, and C18, as well as the presence of novel PHA monomers. The thermal analysis revealed that the maximum temperature of decomposition occurred at 395°C and 454°C, indicating two major decomposition reactions. Thus this bacterial strain, optimized culture condition, and the abundance of novel monomers enhanced the thermostability of the accumulated PHA.

Keywords: bioplastic polyhydroxyalkanoates Rhodobacter sphaeroides ADZ101 thermostable PHA

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13 Large Scale Production of Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) from Waste Water: A Study of Techno-Economics, Energy Use, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Authors: Cora Fernandez Dacosta, John A. Posada, Andrea Ramirez


The biodegradable family of polymers polyhydroxyalkanoates are interesting substitutes for convectional fossil-based plastics. However, the manufacturing and environmental impacts associated with their production via intracellular bacterial fermentation are strongly dependent on the raw material used and on energy consumption during the extraction process, limiting their potential for commercialization. Industrial wastewater is studied in this paper as a promising alternative feedstock for waste valorization. Based on results from laboratory and pilot-scale experiments, a conceptual process design, techno-economic analysis and life cycle assessment are developed for the large-scale production of the most common type of polyhydroxyalkanoate, polyhydroxbutyrate. Intracellular polyhydroxybutyrate is obtained via fermentation of microbial community present in industrial wastewater and the downstream processing is based on chemical digestion with surfactant and hypochlorite. The economic potential and environmental performance results help identifying bottlenecks and best opportunities to scale-up the process prior to industrial implementation. The outcome of this research indicates that the fermentation of wastewater towards PHB presents advantages compared to traditional PHAs production from sugars because the null environmental burdens and financial costs of the raw material in the bioplastic production process. Nevertheless, process optimization is still required to compete with the petrochemicals counterparts.

Keywords: circular economy, life cycle assessment, polyhydroxyalkanoates, waste valorization

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12 Repeated Batch Cultivation: A Novel Empty and Fill Strategy for the Enhanced Production of a Biodegradable Polymer, Polyhydroxy Alkanoate by Alcaligenes latus

Authors: Geeta Gahlawat, Ashok Kumar Srivastava


In the present study, a simple drain and fill protocol strategy of repeated batch was adopted for enhancement in polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) production using alcaligenes latus DSM 1124. Repeated batch strategy helped in increasing the longevity of otherwise decaying culture in the bioreactor by supplementing fresh substrates during each cycle of repeated-batch. The main advantages of repeated batch are its ease of operation, enhancement of culture stability towards contamination, minimization of pre-culture effects and maintenance of organism at high growth rates. The cultivation of A. latus was carried out in 7 L bioreactor containing 4 L optimized nutrient medium and a comparison with the batch mode fermentation was done to evaluate the performance of repeated batch in terms of PHAs accumulation and productivity. The statistically optimized medium recipe consisted of: 25 g/L Sucrose, 2.8 g/L (NH4)2SO4, 3.25 g/L KH2PO4, 3.25 g/L Na2HPO4, 0.2 g/L MgSO4, 1.5 mL/L trace element solution. In this strategy, 20% (v/v) of the culture broth was removed from the reactor and supplemented with an equal volume of fresh medium when sucrose concentration inside the reactor decreased below 8 g/L. The fermenter was operated for three repeated batch cycles and fresh nutrient feeding was done at 27 h, 48 h, and 60 h. Repeated batch operation resulted in a total biomass of 27.89 g/L and PHAs concentration 20.55 g/L at the end of 69 h which was a marked improvement as compared to batch cultivation (8.71 g/L biomass and 6.24 g/L PHAs). This strategy demonstrated 3.3 fold and 1.8 fold increase in PHAs concentration and volumetric productivity, respectively as compared to batch cultivation. Repeated batch cultivation strategy had also the benefit of avoiding non-productive time period required for cleaning, refilling and sterilization of bioreactor, thereby increasing the overall volumetric productivity and making the entire process cost-effective too.

Keywords: alcaligenes, biodegradation, polyhydroxyalkanoates, repeated batch

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11 Co-Synthesis of Exopolysaccharides and Polyhydroxyalkanoates Using Waste Streams: Solid-State Fermentation as an Alternative Approach

Authors: Laura Mejias, Sandra Monteagudo, Oscar Martinez-Avila, Sergio Ponsa


Bioplastics are gaining attention as potential substitutes of conventional fossil-derived plastics and new components of specialized applications in different industries. Besides, these constitute a sustainable alternative since they are biodegradable and can be obtained starting from renewable sources. Thus, agro-industrial wastes appear as potential substrates for bioplastics production using microorganisms, considering they are a suitable source for nutrients, low-cost, and available worldwide. Therefore, this approach contributes to the biorefinery and circular economy paradigm. The present study assesses the solid-state fermentation (SSF) technology for the co-synthesis of exopolysaccharides (EPS) and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), two attractive biodegradable bioplastics, using the leftover of the brewery industry brewer's spent grain (BSG). After an initial screening of diverse PHA-producer bacteria, it was found that Burkholderia cepacia presented the highest EPS and PHA production potential via SSF of BSG. Thus, B. cepacia served to identify the most relevant aspects affecting the EPS+PHA co-synthesis at a lab-scale (100g). Since these are growth-dependent processes, they were monitored online through oxygen consumption using a dynamic respirometric system, but also quantifying the biomass production (gravimetric) and the obtained products (EtOH precipitation for EPS and solid-liquid extraction coupled with GC-FID for PHA). Results showed that B. cepacia has grown up to 81 mg per gram of dry BSG (gDM) at 30°C after 96 h, representing up to 618 times higher than the other tested strains' findings. Hence, the crude EPS production was 53 mg g-1DM (2% carbohydrates), but purity reached 98% after a dialysis purification step. Simultaneously, B. cepacia accumulated up to 36% (dry basis) of the produced biomass as PHA, mainly composed of polyhydroxybutyrate (P3HB). The maximum PHA production was reached after 48 h with 12.1 mg g⁻¹DM, representing threefold the levels previously reported using SSF. Moisture content and aeration strategy resulted in the most significant variables affecting the simultaneous production. Results show the potential of co-synthesis via SSF as an attractive alternative to enhance bioprocess feasibility for obtaining these bioplastics in residue-based systems.

Keywords: bioplastics, brewer’s spent grain, circular economy, solid-state fermentation, waste to product

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10 Assessing the Recycling Potential of Cupriavidus Necator for Space Travel: Production of Single Cell Proteins and Polyhydroxyalkanoates From Organic Waste

Authors: P. Joris, E. Lombard, X. Cameleyre, G. Navarro, A. Paillet, N. Gorret, S. E. Guillouet


Today, on the international space station, multiple supplies are needed per year to supply food and spare parts and to take out waste. But as it is planned to go longer and further into space these supplies will no longer be possible. The astronaut life support system must be able of continuously transform waste into valuable compounds. Two types of production were identified as critical and could be be supplemented by microorganisms. On the one hand, since microgravity causes rapid muscle loss, single cell proteins (SCPs) could be used as protein rich feed or food. On the other hand, having enough building materials to build an advanced habitat will not be possible only by transporting space goods from earth to mars for example. The bacterium Cupriavidus. necator is well known for its ability to produce a large amount of proteins or of polyhydroxyalkanoate biopolymers (PHAs) depending on its implementation. By coupling the life support system to a 3D-printer, astronauts could be supplied with an unlimited amount of building materials. Additionally, based on the design of the life support system, waste streams have been identified: urea from the crew urine and volatile fatty acids (VFAs) from a first stage of organic waste (excrement and food waste) treatment through anaerobic digestion. Thus, the objective of this, within the Spaceship.Fr project, was to demonstrate the feasibility of producing SCPs and PHAs from VFAs and urea in bioreactor. Because life support systems operate continuously as loops, continuous culture experiments were chosen and the effect of the bioreactor dilution rate on biomass composition was investigated. Total transformation of the carbon source into biomass with high SCP or PHA content was achieved in all cases. We will present the transformation performances of VFAs and urea by the bacteria in bioreactor in terms of titers, yields and productivities but also in terms of the quality of SCP and PHA produced, nucleic acid content. We will further discuss the envisioned integration of our process within life support systems.

Keywords: life support system, space travel, waste treatment, single cell proteins, polyhydroxyalkanoates, bioreactor

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9 Mixotrophic Growth as a Tool for Increasing Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) Production in Cyanobacteria

Authors: Zuzana Sedrlova, Eva Slaninova, Ines Fritz, Christina Daffert, Stanislav Obruca


Cyanobacteria are ecologically extremely important phototrophic gram-negative bacteria capable of oxygenic photosynthesis. They synthesize many interesting metabolites such as glycogen, carotenoids, but the most interesting metabolites are polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA). The main advantage of cyanobacteria is the fact they do not require costly organic substrate and, oppositely, cyanobacteria can fix CO₂. PHA serves primarily as a carbon and energy source and occurs in the form of intracellular granules in bacterial cells. It is possible, PHA helps cyanobacteria to survive stress conditions since increased PHA synthesis was observed during cultivation in stress conditions. PHA is microbial biopolymers that are biodegradable with similar properties as petrochemical synthetic plastics. Production of PHA by heterotrophic bacteria is expensive; for price reduction waste materials as input, materials are used. Positively, cyanobacteria principally do not require organic carbon substrate since they are capable of CO₂ fixation. In this work, we demonstrated that stress conditions lead to the highest obtained yields of PHA in cyanobacterial cultures. Two cyanobacterial cultures from genera Synechocystis were used in this work. Cultivations were performed either in Erlenmayer flask or in tube multicultivator. Multiple stressors were applied on cyanobacterial cultures, and stressors include PHA precursors. PHA precursors are chemical substances and some of them do not occur naturally in the environment. Cultivation with the same PHA precursors in the same concentration led to a 1,6x higher amount of PHA when a multicultivator was used. The highest amount of PHA reached 25 % of PHA in dry cyanobacterial biomass. Both strains are capable of co-polymer synthesis in the presence of their structural precursor. The composition of co-polymer differs in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 and Synechocystis salina CCALA 192. Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 cultivated with γ-butyrolakton accumulated co-polymer of 3-hydroxybutyrate (3HB) and 4-hydroxybutyrate (4HB) the composition of the copolymer was 56 % of 4HB and 44 % of 3HB. The total amount of PHA, as well as yield of biomass, was lower than in control due to the toxic properties of γ-butyrolakton. Funding: This study was partly funded by the project GA19- 19-29651L of the Czech Science Foundation (GACR) and partly funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), a project I 4082-B25. This work was supported by Brno, Ph.D. Talent – Funded by the Brno City Municipality.

Keywords: co-polymer, cyanobacteria, PHA, synechocystis

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8 High Strength, High Toughness Polyhydroxybutyrate-Co-Valerate Based Biocomposites

Authors: S. Z. A. Zaidi, A. Crosky


Biocomposites is a field that has gained much scientific attention due to the current substantial consumption of non-renewable resources and the environmentally harmful disposal methods required for traditional polymer composites. Research on natural fiber reinforced polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) has gained considerable momentum over the past decade. There is little work on PHAs reinforced with unidirectional (UD) natural fibers and little work on using epoxidized natural rubber (ENR) as a toughening agent for PHA-based biocomposites. In this work, we prepared polyhydroxybutyrate-co-valerate (PHBV) biocomposites reinforced with UD 30 wt.% flax fibers and evaluated the use of ENR with 50% epoxidation (ENR50) as a toughening agent for PHBV biocomposites. Quasi-unidirectional flax/PHBV composites were prepared by hand layup, powder impregnation followed by compression molding.  Toughening agents – polybutylene adiphate-co-terephthalate (PBAT) and ENR50 – were cryogenically ground into powder and mechanically mixed with main matrix PHBV to maintain the powder impregnation process. The tensile, flexural and impact properties of the biocomposites were measured and morphology of the composites examined using optical microscopy (OM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The UD biocomposites showed exceptionally high mechanical properties as compared to the results obtained previously where only short fibers have been used. The improved tensile and flexural properties were attributed to the continuous nature of the fiber reinforcement and the increased proportion of fibers in the loading direction. The improved impact properties were attributed to a larger surface area for fiber-matrix debonding and for subsequent sliding and fiber pull-out mechanisms to act on, allowing more energy to be absorbed. Coating cryogenically ground ENR50 particles with PHBV powder successfully inhibits the self-healing nature of ENR-50, preventing particles from coalescing and overcoming problems in mechanical mixing, compounding and molding. Cryogenic grinding, followed by powder impregnation and subsequent compression molding is an effective route to the production of high-mechanical-property biocomposites based on renewable resources for high-obsolescence applications such as plastic casings for consumer electronics.

Keywords: natural fibers, natural rubber, polyhydroxyalkanoates, unidirectional

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7 Metabolic Engineering of Yarrowia Lipolytica for the Simultaneous Production of Succinic Acid (SA) and Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs)

Authors: Qingsheng Qi, Cuijuan Gao, Carol Sze Ki Lin


Food waste can be defined as a by-product of food processing by industries and consumers, which has not been recycled or used for other purposes. Stringent waste regulations worldwide are pushing local companies and sectors towards higher sustainability standards. The development of novel strategies for food waste re-use is economically and environmentally sound, as it solves a waste management issue and represents an inexpensive nutrient source for biotechnological processes. For example, Yarrowia lipolytica is a yeast which can utilize hydrophobic substrates, such as fatty acids, lipids, and alkanes and simple carbon sources, such as glucose and glycerol, which can all be found in food waste. This broad substrate range makes Y. lipolytica a promising candidate for the degradation and valorisation of food waste, and for the production of organic acids, such as citric and α-ketoglutaric acids. Current research conducted in our group demonstrated that Y. lipolytica was shown to be able to produce succinic acid. In this talk, we will focus on the application of genetically modified yeast Y. lipolytica for fermentative succinic acid production with an aim to increase productivity and yield.

Keywords: food waste, succinic acid, Yarrowia lipolytica, bioplastic

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6 Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB): Highly Porous Scaffold for Biomedicine

Authors: Neda Sinaei, Davood Zare, Mehrdad Azin


Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are biocompatible and biodegradable polymers produced by a wide range of bacterial strains. These biopolymers are significantly studied for drug delivery and tissue engineering applications because of their fascinating physicochemical properties. Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) scaffold that has been extracted from a novel bacteria using oil wastewater was selected to study. Some physical parameters affecting scaffold properties such as PHB concentration, solvent evaporation speed, and ultrasonic time were investigated. Scanning electron microscopy was used to evaluate the porosity. Afterward, the biocompatibility of PHB scaffold was assessed. Initial results showed the highly porous PHB scaffold structure with a variety of pore sizes. Subsequent results indicated that more unique pore sizes can be obtained by optimizing physical factors. It would be noticed that the morphology of the pore structure was accordingly affected by ultrasonic time. Hence, In vitro cell viability tests on the PHB scaffold using human foreskin fibroblasts revealed strong cell attachment and proliferation supports. Therefore, it can be concluded that the cost-effective PHB scaffold has the potential using as a biomaterial cell adhesion substrate in therapeutic applications.

Keywords: Polyhydroxybutyrate, biocompatible, scaffold, porous, tissue engineering

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5 Extractive Bioconversion of Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) from Ralstonia Eutropha Via Aqueous Two-Phase System-An Integrated Approach

Authors: Y. K. Leong, J. C. W. Lan, H. S. Loh, P. L. Show


Being biodegradable, non-toxic, renewable and have similar or better properties as commercial plastics, polyhydroxy alkanoates (PHAs) can be a potential game changer in the polymer industry. PHAs are the biodegradable polymer produced by bacteria, which are in interest as a sustainable alternative to petrochemical-derived plastics; however, its commercial value has significantly limited by high production and recovery cost of PHA. Aqueous two-phase system (ATPS) offers different chemical and physical environments, which contains about 80-90% water delivers an excellent environment for partitioning of cells, cell organelles and biologically active substances. Extractive bioconversion via ATPS allows the integration of PHA upstream fermentation and downstream purification process, which reduces production steps and time, thus lead to cost reduction. The ability of Ralstonia eutropha to grow under different ATPS conditions was investigated for its potential to be used in a bioconversion system. Changes in tie-line length (TLL) and a volume ratio (Vr) were shown to have an effect on PHA partition coefficient. High PHA recovery yield of 65% with a relatively high purity of 73% was obtained in PEG 6000/Sodium sulphate system with 42.6 wt/wt % TLL and 1.25 Vr. Extractive bioconversion via ATPS is an attractive approach for the combination of PHA production and recovery process.

Keywords: aqueous two-phase system, extractive bioconversion, polyhydroxy alkanoates, purification

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4 Sustainable and Efficient Recovery of Polyhydroxyalkanoate Polymer from Cupriavidus necator Using Environment Friendly Solvents

Authors: Geeta Gahlawat, Sanjeev Kumar Soni


An imprudent use of environmentally hazardous petrochemical-based plastics and limited availability of fossil fuels have provoked research interests towards production of biodegradable plastics - polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHAs). However, the industrial application of PHAs based products is primarily restricted by their high cost of recovery and extraction protocols. Moreover, solvents used for the extraction and purification are toxic and volatile which causes adverse environmental hazards. Development of efficient downstream recovery strategies along with utilization of non-toxic solvents will accelerate their commercialization. In this study, various extraction strategies were designed for sustainable and cost-effective recovery of PHAs from Cupriavidus necator using non-toxic environment friendly solvents viz. 1,2-propylene carbonate, ethyl acetate, isoamyl alcohol, butyl acetate. The effect of incubation time i.e. 10, 30 and 50 min and temperature i.e. 60, 80, 100, 120°C was tested to identify the most suitable solvent. PHAs extraction using a recyclable solvent, 1,2 propylene carbonate, showed the highest recovery yield (90%) and purity (93%) at 120°C and 30 min incubation. Ethyl acetate showed the better capacity to recover PHAs from cells than butyl acetate. Extraction with ethyl acetate exhibited high recovery yield and purity of 96% and 92%, respectively at 100°C. Effect of non-toxic surfactant such as linear alkylbenzene sulfonic acid (LAS) was also studied at 40, 60 and 80°C, and detergent pH range of 3.0, 5.0, 7.0 and 9.0 for the extraction of PHAs from the cells. LAS gave highest yield of 86% and purity of 88% at temperature 80°C and 5.0 pH.

Keywords: polyhydroxyalkanoates, Cupriavidus necator, extraction, recovery yield

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3 Instrumental Characterization of Cyanobacteria as Polyhydroxybutyrate Producer

Authors: Eva Slaninova, Diana Cernayova, Zuzana Sedrlova, Katerina Mrazova, Petr Sedlacek, Jana Nebesarova, Stanislav Obruca


Cyanobacteria are gram-negative prokaryotes belonging to a group of photosynthetic bacteria. In comparison with heterotrophic microorganisms, cyanobacteria utilize atmospheric nitrogen and carbon dioxide without any additional substrates. This ability of these microorganisms could be employed in biotechnology for the production of bioplastics, concretely polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) which are primarily accumulated as a storage material in cells in the form of intracellular granules. In this study, there two cyanobacterial cultures from genera Synechocystis were used, namely Synechocystic sp. PCC 6803 and Synechocystis salina CCALA 192. There were optimized and used several various approaches, including microscopic techniques such as cryo-scanning electron microscopy (Cryo-SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy using Nile red as a fluorescent probe (FLIM). Due to these instrumental techniques, the morphology of intracellular space and surface of cells were characterized. The next group of methods which were employed was spectroscopic techniques such as UV-Vis spectroscopy measured in two modes (turbidimetry and integration sphere) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). All these diverse techniques were used for the detection and characterization of pigments (chlorophylls, carotenoids, phycocyanin, etc.) and PHAs, in our case poly (3-hydroxybutyrate) (P3HB). To verify results, gas chromatography (GC) was employed concretely for the determination of the amount of P3HB in biomass. Cyanobacteria were also characterized as polyhydroxybutyrate producers by flow cytometer, which could count cells and at the same time distinguish cells including P3HB and without due to fluorescent probe called BODIPY and live/dead fluorescent probe SYTO Blue. Based on results, P3HB content in cyanobacteria cells was determined, as also the overall fitness of the cells. Acknowledgment: Funding: This study was partly funded by the projectGA19-29651L of the Czech Science Foundation (GACR) and partly funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), project I 4082-B25.

Keywords: cyanobacteria, fluorescent probe, microscopic techniques, poly(3hydroxybutyrate), spectroscopy, chromatography

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2 Development of a Wound Dressing Material Based on Microbial Polyhydroxybutyrate Electrospun Microfibers Containing Curcumin

Authors: Ariel Vilchez, Francisca Acevedo, Rodrigo Navia


The wound healing process can be accelerated and improved by the action of antioxidants such as curcumin (Cur) over the tissues; however, the efficacy of curcumin used through the digestive system is not enough to exploit its benefits. Electrospinning presents an alternative to carry curcumin directly to the wounds, and polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) is proposed as the matrix to load curcumin owing to its biodegradable and biocompatible properties. PHB is among 150 types of Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) identified, it is a natural thermoplastic polyester produced by microbial fermentation obtained from microorganisms. The proposed objective is to develop electrospun bacterial PHB-based microfibers containing curcumin for possible biomedical applications. Commercial PHB was solved in Chloroform: Dimethylformamide (4:1) to a final concentration of 7% m/V. Curcumin was added to the polymeric solution at 1%, and 7% m/m regarding PHB. The electrospinning equipment (NEU-BM, China) with a rotary collector was used to obtain Cur-PHB fibers at different voltages and flow rate of the polymeric solution considering a distance of 20 cm from the needle to the collector. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to determine the diameter and morphology of the obtained fibers. Thermal stability was obtained from Thermogravimetric (TGA) analysis, and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR) was carried out in order to study the chemical bonds and interactions. A preliminary curcumin release to Phosphate Buffer Saline (PBS) pH = 7.4 was obtained in vitro and measured by spectrophotometry. PHB fibers presented an intact chemical composition regarding the original condition (dust) according to FTIR spectra, the diameter fluctuates between 0.761 ± 0.123 and 2.157 ± 0.882 μm, with different qualities according to their morphology. The best fibers in terms of quality and diameter resulted in sample 2 and sample 6, obtained at 0-10kV and 0.5 mL/hr, and 0-10kV and 1.5 mL/hr, respectively. The melting temperature resulted near 178 °C, according to the bibliography. The crystallinity of fibers decreases while curcumin concentration increases for the studied interval. The curcumin release reaches near 14% at 37 °C at 54h in PBS adjusted to a quasi-Fickian Diffusion. We conclude that it is possible to load curcumin in PHB to obtain continuous, homogeneous, and solvent-free microfibers by electrospinning. Between 0% and 7% of curcumin, the crystallinity of fibers decreases as the concentration of curcumin increases. Thus, curcumin enhances the flexibility of the obtained material. HPLC should be used in further analysis of curcumin release.

Keywords: antioxidant, curcumin, polyhydroxybutyrate, wound healing

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1 Assessment of the Change in Strength Properties of Biocomposites Based on PLA and PHA after 4 Years of Storage in a Highly Cooled Condition

Authors: Karolina Mazur, Stanislaw Kuciel


Polylactides (PLA) and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are the two groups of biodegradable and biocompatible thermoplastic polymers most commonly utilised in medicine and rehabilitation. The aim of this work is to determine the changes in the strength properties and the microstructures taking place in biodegradable polymer composites during their long-term storage in a highly cooled environment (i.e. a freezer at -24ºC) and to initially assess the durability of such biocomposites when used as single-use elements of rehabilitation or medical equipment. It is difficult to find any information relating to the feasibility of long-term storage of technical products made of PLA or PHA, but nonetheless, when using these materials to make products such as casings of hair dryers, laptops or mobile phones, it is safe to assume that without storing in optimal conditions their degradation time might last even several years. SEM images and the assessment of the strength properties (tensile, bending and impact testing) were carried out and the density and water sorption of two polymers, PLA and PHA (NaturePlast PLE 001 and PHE 001), filled with cellulose fibres (corncob grain – Rehofix MK100, Rettenmaier&Sohne) up to 10 and 20% mass were determined. The biocomposites had been stored at a temperature of -24ºC for 4 years. In order to find out the changes in the strength properties and the microstructure taking place after such a long time of storage, the results of the assessment have been compared with the results of the same research carried out 4 years before. Results shows a significant change in the manner of fractures – from ductile with developed surface for the PHA composite with corncob grain when the tensile testing was performed directly after the injection into a more brittle state after 4 years of storage, which is confirmed by the strength tests, where a decrease of deformation is observed at point of fracture. The research showed that there is a way of storing medical devices made out of PLA or PHA for a reasonably long time, as long as the required temperature of storage is met. The decrease of mechanical properties found during tensile testing and bending for PLA was less than 10% of the tensile strength, while the modulus of elasticity and deformation at fracturing slightly rose, which may implicate the beginning of degradation processes. The strength properties of PHA are even higher after 4 years of storage, although in that case the decrease of deformation at fracturing is significant, reaching even 40%, which suggests its degradation rate is higher than that of PLA. The addition of natural particles in both cases only slightly increases the biodegradation.

Keywords: biocomposites, PLA, PHA, storage

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