We report on the ability of bacteria to produce biodegradable polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) using oxidized polyethylene wax (O-PEW) as a novel carbon source. The O-PEW was obtained in a process that used air or oxygen as an oxidizing agent. R. eutropha H16 was grown for 48 h in either tryptone soya broth (TSB) or basal salts medium (BSM) supplemented with O-PEW and monitored by viable counting. Study revealed that biomass and PHA production was higher in TSB supplemented with O-PEW compared with TSB only. The biopolymers obtained were preliminary characterized by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), gel permeation chromatography (GPC), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The detailed structural evaluation at the molecular level was performed by electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS). The study revealed that, when TSB was supplemented with O-PEW, bacteria produced PHA which contained 3-hydroxybutyrate and up to 3 mol % of 3-hydroxyvalerate and 3-hydroxyhexanoate co-monomeric units. The ESI-MS/MS enabled the PHA characterization when the content of 3-hydroxybutyrate was high and the appearance of other PHA repeating units was very low.
Radecka, I., Irorere, V., Jiang, G., Hill, D., Williams, C., Adamus, G., Kwiecień, M., Marek, A. A., Zawadiak, J., Johnston, B., Kowalczuk, M., & Teramoto, N. (Ed.) (2016). Oxidized Polyethylene Wax as a Potential Carbon Source for PHA Production. Materials, 9(5). https://doi.org/10.3390/ma9050367