Simulation of Bioreactors for PHB Production from Natural Gas

Document Type: Review Article

Authors

1 Department of Food Technology Research, National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, P.O. Box 19395 Tehran, I.R. IRAN

2 Department of Life Science Engineering, Faculty of New Sciences & Technologies, University of Tehran, Tehran, I.R. IRAN

3 School of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, I.R. IRAN

4 Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, North Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University,Tehran, I.R. IRAN

5 University of Graz, Institute of Chemistry, NAWI Graz, Heinrichstrasse 28, A-8010 Graz, Austria.

Abstract

Many economic studies of Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) production on industrial scale, and the impact of replacing petrochemical polymers by PHB were carried out, clearly indicating that the most crucial factors to reduce the cost of producing biopolymers are allotted to the application of microbial production strains capable of high productivity in inexpensive carbon sources, high cell density cultivation methods, cheap yet effective methods for the extraction of PHB and other polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), and gene transfer from bacteria to plantsWe present current strategies to reduce the production price of biological polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) biopolyesters. Because an important part of the PHA production cost is related to the cost of carbon source, the article focuses on the use of natural gas as an inexpensive and readily available C1-carbon source. Since the first and foremost point in PHA production is biomass growth, we discuss different types of bioreactors to be potentially used for efficient biomass production from natural gas, which facilitates the subsequent selection of the ideal bioreactor for PHA production from this substrate. Nowadays, process simulation software can be used as a powerful tool for analysis, optimization, design and scale up of bioprocesses. Controlling the process design by in silico simulations instead of performing an excessive number of lab-scale experiments to optimize various process parameters in order to save in time, material and equipment. In this context, simulation of PHA production processes in order to find the optimal conditions can play a decisive role in increasing the production efficiency. Computational Fluid Dynamics and mathematical simulation of PHA production helps us to achieve a better understanding of the role of different nutrients, flow parameters when using gaseous substrates like natural gas, to find efficient feeding strategies to increase PHA productivity, to predict different parameters like nutrient supply and biomass concentration time profile and their respective yields.

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