Microorganisms Cell Factories for Biobased and Biodegradable Plastics

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Biomacromolecules, Biobased and Biodegradable Polymers".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 July 2022) | Viewed by 11749

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Guest Editor
Department of Agrochemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Alicante, E-03080 Alicante, Spain
Interests: extremophiles; omics-based technologies; gene regulation; microbial metabolism; carotenoids; polyhydroxyalkanoates; biogeochemical cycles; system biology
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plastic pollution is one of the main concerns worldwide because the accumulation of plastic objects and particles is negatively affecting wildlife, marine and terrestrial ecosystems and in general wellness of all living beings including human beings. Plastics produced by chemical processes at large scale are usually inexpensive and durable. However, the chemical composition of most plastics renders them resistant to many natural processes of degradation and as a result, they are slow to degrade. To decrease plastic pollutions, several policies are being implemented worldwide including the reduction of plastic consumption, promotion of plastic recycling as well as the support of processes in which biodegradable plastics are made. Several microorganisms, mainly grouped into Bacteria and Archaea domains, have revealed as potential producers of polymers able to replace those plastics obtained by chemical-based approaches. Thus, biopolymers such as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) among others are polyesters produced in nature by numerous microorganisms thanks to fermentation of sugars or lipids. More than 150 different monomers can be combined within this family to give materials with extremely different properties, which behave as biodegradable plastics. This Special Issue is dedicated to “Microorganisms as cell factories to produce biobased and biodegradable plastics.” Colleagues are cordially invited to contribute original research papers or reviews to this Special Issue.

Dr. Rosa María Martínez-Espinosa
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • cell factories
  • bioplastics
  • polyhydroxyalkanoates
  • polyhydroxybutyrates
  • polyhydroxyvalerates

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

22 pages, 4677 KiB  
Article
Dynamics of PHA-Accumulating Bacterial Communities Fed with Lipid-Rich Liquid Effluents from Fish-Canning Industries
by David Correa-Galeote, Lucia Argiz, Angeles Val del Rio, Anuska Mosquera-Corral, Belen Juarez-Jimenez, Jesus Gonzalez-Lopez and Belen Rodelas
Polymers 2022, 14(7), 1396; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14071396 - 29 Mar 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2552
Abstract
The biosynthesis of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) from industrial wastes by mixed microbial cultures (MMCs) enriched in PHA-accumulating bacteria is a promising technology to replace petroleum-based plastics. However, the populations’ dynamics in the PHA-accumulating MMCs are not well known. Therefore, the main objective of this [...] Read more.
The biosynthesis of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) from industrial wastes by mixed microbial cultures (MMCs) enriched in PHA-accumulating bacteria is a promising technology to replace petroleum-based plastics. However, the populations’ dynamics in the PHA-accumulating MMCs are not well known. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to address the shifts in the size and structure of the bacterial communities in two lab-scale sequencing batch reactors (SBRs) fed with fish-canning effluents and operated under non-saline (SBR-N, 0.5 g NaCl/L) or saline (SBR-S, 10 g NaCl/L) conditions, by using a combination of quantitative PCR and Illumina sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes. A double growth limitation (DGL) strategy, in which nitrogen availability was limited and uncoupled to carbon addition, strongly modulated the relative abundances of the PHA-accumulating bacteria, leading to an increase in the accumulation of PHAs, independently of the saline conditions (average 9.04 wt% and 11.69 wt%, maximum yields 22.03 wt% and 26.33% SBR-N and SBR-S, respectively). On the other hand, no correlations were found among the PHAs accumulation yields and the absolute abundances of total Bacteria, which decreased through time in the SBR-N and did not present statistical differences in the SBR-S. Acinetobacter, Calothrix, Dyella, Flavobacterium, Novosphingobium, Qipengyuania, and Tsukamurella were key PHA-accumulating genera in both SBRs under the DGL strategy, which was revealed as a successful tool to obtain a PHA-enriched MMC using fish-canning effluents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microorganisms Cell Factories for Biobased and Biodegradable Plastics)
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12 pages, 3104 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Polyhydroxyalkanoates Granules in Haloferax mediterranei by Double-Fluorescence Staining with Nile Red and SYBR Green by Confocal Fluorescence Microscopy
by Verónica Cánovas, Salvador Garcia-Chumillas, Fuensanta Monzó, Lorena Simó-Cabrera, Carmen Fernández-Ayuso, Carmen Pire and Rosa María Martínez-Espinosa
Polymers 2021, 13(10), 1582; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13101582 - 14 May 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 5773
Abstract
Haloferaxmediterranei is a haloarchaeon of high interest in biotechnology because it produces and mobilizes intracellular polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) granules during growth under stress conditions (limitation of phosphorous in the culture media), among other interesting metabolites (enzymes, carotenoids, etc.). The capability of PHA production [...] Read more.
Haloferaxmediterranei is a haloarchaeon of high interest in biotechnology because it produces and mobilizes intracellular polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) granules during growth under stress conditions (limitation of phosphorous in the culture media), among other interesting metabolites (enzymes, carotenoids, etc.). The capability of PHA production by microbes can be monitored with the use of staining-based methods. However, the staining of haloarchaea cells is a challenging task; firstly, due to the high ionic strength of the medium, which is inappropriate for most of dyes, and secondly, due to the low permeability of the haloarchaea S-layer to macromolecules. In this work, Haloferax mediterranei is used as a halophilic archaeon model to describe an optimized protocol for the visualization and analysis of intracellular PHA granules in living cells. The method is based on double-fluorescence staining using Nile red and SYBR Green by confocal fluorescence microscopy. Thanks to this method, the capability of PHA production by new haloarchaea isolates could be easily monitored. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microorganisms Cell Factories for Biobased and Biodegradable Plastics)
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23 pages, 13491 KiB  
Article
Accumulation of PHA in the Microalgae Scenedesmus sp. under Nutrient-Deficient Conditions
by Gabriela García, Juan Eduardo Sosa-Hernández, Laura Isabel Rodas-Zuluaga, Carlos Castillo-Zacarías, Hafiz Iqbal and Roberto Parra-Saldívar
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010131 - 30 Dec 2020
Cited by 48 | Viewed by 6292
Abstract
Traditional plastics have undoubted utility and convenience for everyday life; but when they are derived from petroleum and are non-biodegradable, they contribute to two major crises today’s world is facing: fossil resources depletion and environmental degradation. Polyhydroxyalkanoates are a promising alternative to replace [...] Read more.
Traditional plastics have undoubted utility and convenience for everyday life; but when they are derived from petroleum and are non-biodegradable, they contribute to two major crises today’s world is facing: fossil resources depletion and environmental degradation. Polyhydroxyalkanoates are a promising alternative to replace them, being biodegradable and suitable for a wide variety of applications. This biopolymer accumulates as energy and carbon storage material in various microorganisms, including microalgae. This study investigated the influence of glucose, N, P, Fe, and salinity over the production of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) by Scenedesmus sp., a freshwater microalga strain not previously explored for this purpose. To assess the effect of the variables, a fractional Taguchi experimental design involving 16 experimental runs was planned and executed. Biopolymer was obtained in all the experiments in a wide range of concentrations (0.83–29.92%, w/w DW), and identified as polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) by FTIR analysis. The statistical analysis of the response was carried out using Minitab 16, where phosphorus, glucose, and iron were identified as significant factors, together with the P-Fe and glucose-N interactions. The presence of other relevant macromolecules was also quantified. Doing this, this work contributes to the understanding of the critical factors that control PHA production and present Scenedesmus sp. as a promising species to produce bio-resources in commercial systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microorganisms Cell Factories for Biobased and Biodegradable Plastics)
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