Deliverable 2.3 - 1st report on PHA extraction
This report addresses the progress obtained so far (from month 12 to month 15) in the development of a novel PHA purification process that does not use any organic solvent and can be implemented in typical wastewater treatment plants using mild conditions.
The benchmark processes used at Biotrend and NOVAID were successfully applied to obtain PHA from mixed-culture PHA-containing biomass. Various challenges were identified, including a high consumption of chemicals, which raised economic, environmental and safety concerns. Further, alternative protocols were tested using different bleaching agents and a proof of concept was successfully obtained. Further trials were carried out in order to evaluate the effect of the amounts of each chemical used and of their addition times. Preliminary results showed that it is possible to extract PHA from the biomass using the newly developed method and at reduced quantities when compared to the initial protocols. The obtained polymer was sent for thorough characterization to RES-URBIS partners. The results provided sufficient information regarding the amount of reagents and residence times which will be used in future work to test the implementation of a continuous biomass digestion process using standard equipment that can be installed in typical wastewater treatment plants.