One-Step Oxidation of Orange Peel Waste to Carbon Feedstock for Bacterial Production of Polyhydroxybutyrate

Polymers (Basel). 2023 Jan 30;15(3):697. doi: 10.3390/polym15030697.


Orange peels are an abundant food waste stream that can be converted into useful products, such as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs). Limonene, however, is a key barrier to building a successful biopolymer synthesis from orange peels as it inhibits microbial growth. We designed a one-pot oxidation system that releases the sugars from orange peels while eliminating limonene through superoxide (O2• -) generated from potassium superoxide (KO2). The optimum conditions were found to be treatment with 0.05 M KO2 for 1 h, where 55% of the sugars present in orange peels were released and recovered. The orange peel sugars were then used, directly, as a carbon source for polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) production by engineered Escherichia coli. Cell growth was improved in the presence of the orange peel liquor with 3 w/v% exhibiting 90-100% cell viability. The bacterial production of PHB using orange peel liquor led to 1.7-3.0 g/L cell dry weight and 136-393 mg (8-13 w/w%) ultra-high molecular weight PHB content (Mw of ~1900 kDa) during a 24 to 96 h fermentation period. The comprehensive thermal characterization of the isolated PHBs revealed polymeric properties similar to PHBs resulting from pure glucose or fructose. Our one-pot oxidation process for liberating sugars and eliminating inhibitory compounds is an efficient and easy method to release sugars from orange peels and eliminate limonene, or residual limonene post limonene extraction, and shows great promise for extracting sugars from other complex biomass materials.

PMID:36771998 | PMC:PMC9920450 | DOI:10.3390/polym15030697


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