Production of polyhydroxyalkanoates by activated sludge treating a paper mill wastewater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) in activated sludge treating wastewater represents an economical and environmental promising alternative to pure culture fermentations. A process for production of PHA from a paper mill wastewater was examined at laboratory scale. The three stage process examined consisted of acidogenic fermentation to convert wastewater organic matter to volatile fatty acids (VFAs), an activated sludge system operating under feast/famine conditions to enrich for PHA producing organisms and accumulation of PHA in batch experiments. After fermentation of the wastewater, 74% of the soluble COD was present as VFA (acetate, propionate, butyrate and valerate) and the resulting PHA after batch accumulation consisted of 31-47 mol% hydroxybutyrate and 5369 mol% hydroxyvalerate. The maximum PHA content achieved was 48% of the sludge dry weight and the three stage process exhibited a potential to produce 0.11 kg of PHA per kg of influent COD treated. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Simon Bengtsson
  • Alan Werker
  • Magnus Christensson
  • Thomas Welander
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Industrial Biotechnology


  • paper mill wastewater, polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), mixed culture, feast/famine, activated sludge
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-516
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch