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J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2010 Aug;37(8):849-56. doi: 10.1007/s10295-010-0732-7. Epub 2010 May 14.

Biosynthesis and characterization of copolymer poly(3HB-co-3HV) from saponified Jatropha curcas oil by Pseudomonas oleovorans.

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Department of Biology, Graduate School, Howard University, 415 College St. NW, Washington, DC 20059, USA.


Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are naturally occurring biodegradable polymers with promising application in the formulation of plastic materials. PHAs are produced by numerous bacteria as energy/carbon storage materials from various substrates, including sugars and plant oils. Since these substrates compete as food sources, their use as raw material for industrial-scale production of PHA is limited. Therefore, efforts have been focused on seeking alternative sources for bacterial production of PHA. One substrate that seems to have great potential is the seed oil of Jatropha curcas plant. Among other favorable properties, J. curcas seed oil is non-edible, widely available, and can be cheaply produced. In this study, Pseudomonas oleovorans (ATCC 29347) was grown in a mineral salt medium supplemented with saponified J. curcas seed oil as the only carbon source under batch fermentation. Optimum PHA yield of 26.06% cell dry weight was achieved after 72 h. The PHA had a melting point (T(m)) between 150 and 160 degrees C. Results of polymer analyses by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) identified only the methyl 3-hydroxybutanoate monomeric unit. However, electrospray ionization-time of flight mass spectroscopy (ESI-TOF MS) confirmed that the PHA was a copolymer with the characteristic HB/HV peaks at m/z 1155.49 (HB) and 1,169, 1,184-1,194 (HV). The data were further supported by 1H and 13C NMR analysis. Polymer analysis by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) indicated a peak molecular weight (MP) of 179,797, molecular weight (M(W)) of 166,838, weight number average mass (M(n)) of 131,847, and polydispersity (M(w)/M (n)) of 1.3. The data from this study indicate that J. curcas seed oil can be used as a substrate to produce the copolymer poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate), poly(3HB-co-3HV).

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