Year: 2019

Type: book-chapter

Authors: Simona Ortelli, Anna Luisa Costa, Cristian Torri, Chiara Samorì, Paola Galletti, Claudia Vineis, Alessio Varesano, Luca Bonura and Giacomo Bianchi

Keywords: Sustainable Production,Biopolymers

This work aims to develop methodologies and tools to support the design
and management of sustainable processes for the production of biodegradable polyhydroxyalcanoates
(PHAs) biopolymers. PHAs are linear polyesters produced in
nature by bacteria through aerobic fermentation of many carbon sources, completely
biodegradable and biocompatible. We carried out a study inherent to the advancement
of an innovative, cost-effective and environmentally sustainable technology
for isolating PHAs from bacteria mixed cultures by combining: (a) innovative cells’
pre-treatments and polymer purification’s strategy by means of TiO2/UV or Ag0
nanostructured materials; (b) polymer extraction through a green and safe system
directly applicable to bacterial cultures, which combines the advantages of solvent
extraction and these of dissolution of the non-PHAs cellular matrix through surfactants;
(c)monitoring and control tools for process energy and efficiencymanagement.
The outcomes put the basis for the design and subsequent building of a working pilot
system for the production of completely biodegradable and biocompatible PHAs.The
efficiency can be improved and the investments and operating costs can be decreased
thanks to the optimization of the production process with the introduction of safe
and cheap PHAs extraction route without use of toxic and harmful chemicals and
the integration of monitoring and automation tools. The engineering and integration
of nano-TiO2 phase within textile fibres and their use as photocatalytic active media
for bacteria pre- and post-treatment of waste water added a new opportunity for
improving process efficiency and sustainability.