Effect of nitrogen limitation on enrichment of activated sludge for PHA production

Basak B., INCE O., Artan N., YAGCI N., Ince B. K.

BIOPROCESS AND BIOSYSTEMS ENGINEERING, vol.34, no.8, pp.1007-1016, 2011 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 34 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00449-011-0551-x
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1007-1016
  • Keywords: Activated sludge, Aerobic dynamic feeding, Carbon-to-nitrogen ratio (C/N ratio), Polyhydroxyalkanoate, Bioplastics, Renewable resources, SEQUENCING BATCH REACTOR, MIXED CULTURES, WASTE-WATER, POLYHYDROXYALKANOATE PRODUCTION, BIODEGRADABLE POLYMERS, STRATEGIES, STORAGE, ACIDS
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are good candidates to plastics because of their material properties similar to conventional plastics and complete biodegradability. The use of activated sludge can be a cheaper alternative to pure cultures for PHA production. In this study, effect of nitrogen limitation during acclimatization period of biomass on production of polyhydroxyalkanoate was investigated. Activated sludge was selected in two sequencing batch reactors operated with and without nitrogen limitation. Batch tests were performed to examine polymer productions of activated sludges acclimatized to different nitrogen regimes. Responses of biomass to different organic loading rates, organic acids, and carbon to nitrogen (C/N) ratios were studied by determining specific polymer storage rate, polymer storage yield, and sludge polymer content of biomasses. Results obtained from batch experiments showed that concentrations of polymer accumulated by two different sludges increased directly with initial substrate concentration. Observed highest polymer yields for the biomasses enriched with and without nitrogen deficiency were 0.69 g COD PHA g(-1) COD S and 0.51 g COD PHA g(-1) COD S, and corresponding polymer contents of biomasses were 43.3% (g COD PHA g(-1) COD X) and 38.3% (g COD PHA g(-1) COD X), respectively. Polymer yields for both biomasses decreased with substrate shift however, biomass enriched with nitrogen deficiency adapted well to acetate-propionate mixture. The results presented in this study showed that polymer storage ability of biomass was improved more under dynamic conditions with nitrogen deficiency when compared to that without nitrogen deficiency. Limiting ammonia availability during batch experiments also caused higher polymer production by suppressing growth, as well as during enrichment of biomass.