Aerobic and Anaerobic Degradation Pathways of PHA

Authored by: Jorge A. Ferreira , Dan Åkesson

The Handbook of Polyhydroxyalkanoates

Print publication date:  October  2020
Online publication date:  October  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367541071
eBook ISBN: 9781003087663
Adobe ISBN:

10.1201/9781003087663-17

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Abstract

The production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA)-based plastics is expected to increase in the future as an effort to drive away from petroleum-based products. However, stating biodegradability is not enough to motivate their production, and comprehensive studies, in the context of waste management, need to be carried out. Their absence will mitigate the potential positive environmental impacts of bio-based plastics with no practical impact on waste accumulation. The chapter provides an overview of potential aerobic and anaerobic microbial methods that can be used for the degradation of PHA. Anaerobic digestion, in view of the potential value-added products generated, namely methane, hydrogen, and volatile fatty acids, and industrial operation, is believed to play a superior role in future PHA waste management strategy development in comparison to that of composting and vermicomposting. However, the composition of the final plastic materials reaching the market will influence the ease of biodegradation and clear relationships need to be demonstrated.

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