Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) Production Using Volatile Fatty Acids Derived from the Anaerobic Digestion of Waste Paper

Huda Al Battashi, Shatha Al-Kindi, Vijai Kumar Gupta, Nallusamy Sivakumar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Waste paper as a resource for polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) production through anaerobic digestion is a low-cost strategy to produce bioplastic. In this study, volatile fatty acids (VFAs) produced from waste paper, one of the significant constituents of municipal solid waste, was utilized as a feedstock for polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) production. PHA production from synthetic VFAs by Cupriavidus necator was initially optimized under different VFAs concentrations, VFAs ratios, and nitrogen sources. VFAs concentration of 10 g/L, 5:1:4 ratio of acetic, propionic, and butyric acids (HAc:HPr:HBu) and NaNO3 as nitrogen source were considered the optimum conditions with 56.98% PHA and 0.31 g/g yield. Anaerobic digestion of shredded office paper (OP/S) produced the maximum VFAs (521.50 mg/L) after 15 days of incubation and were utilized for PHA synthesis. Almost 2.24-fold increase in the yield of PHA was achieved with limited nutrient medium compared to nutrient contained medium with a PHA content of 53.50 and 23.88%, respectively. PHA production using anaerobic effluent of waste paper is a promising approach where a series of pretreatment processes, the expensive enzymatic hydrolysis, and detoxification were no longer required, suggesting an environmentally friendly way of biopolymer production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-259
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Polymers and the Environment
Early online date2 Sept 2020
Publication statusPrint publication - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Polyhydroxyalkanoates
  • Volatile fatty acids
  • Waste paper


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