Rapeseed meal valorization strategies via nitrogen- and oxygen-limited production of polyhydroxyalkanoates with Pseudomonas putida

Phavit Wongsirichot, Maria Gonzalez Miquel, James Winterburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rapeseed meal (RSM) is a candidate for biopolymer production due to its abundance, low cost and potential integration with other rapeseed-derived products. However, existing studies pursuing such schemes are limited. The feasibility of different strategies for RSM valorization via protein extraction and polyhydroxyalkanoate production were evaluated. Nitrogen-limited RSM media was produced from hydrolysis of residues which had undergone extensive protein extraction using sodium hydroxide. A study of oxygen-limited fermentation was also performed on hydrolysate of untreated RSM via fed-batch. The typical strategy of using a high carbon-to-nitrogen ratio may not be the most suitable route for polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) production using nitrogen-rich biomass as a feedstock. Central composite design-based experiments show that due to mass transfer limitations protein extraction at 1-L scale could only achieve yields around 50% and 69%, at room temperature and 60°C, respectively. Protein extraction yields reduced with successive extractions, meaning that whilst the RSM hydrolysate is viable for growth, designing a valorization scheme which has the fermentation step dictated by the protein extraction may not be practical/economical. A better route which utilized oxygen-limitation to initially induce stationary phase was identified, giving accumulation of polyhydroxyalkanoate once the oxygen levels began to recover; 8.93% and 1.75% PHA accumulation in fed-batch cultures of synthetic and RSM media, respectively. Findings demonstrate that decoupling of protein extraction performance from PHA synthesis is feasible. This study provides important insight into the degrees of freedom available in the design of a holistic valorization scheme of rapeseed meal, and high protein lignocellulosic biomass in general.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWaste Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Feb 2020


  • Rapeseed meal
  • waste valorization
  • protein extraction
  • polyhydroxyalkanoates
  • central composite design
  • fermentation techniques


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