Catalan Water Research Institute research and innovation for the sustainable use of water


01/12/2022 - 30/11/2024

Valorizing methane: biorefinery based on methanotrophs for the production of extracellular polymers

Bio-based polymers are increasingly popular as alternatives to conventional petroleum-based polymers. Although methanotrophs provide a good theoretical platform for methane-based biopolymers, the production of biopolymers using methane is still in its early stages. Several studies have investigated the production of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) by methanotrophs, but the limitations affecting the costs of PHA production are intracellular PHA content and intracellular PHA extraction. An alternative to intracellular biopolymers is the production of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) due to their ability to form polymeric networks or hydrogels. However, EPS production by methanotrophs has not been thoroughly investigated. Knowledge about the stress conditions that trigger EPS production in methanotrophs is still lacking, and the structure and properties of EPS produced from methane have not been revealed.
The main objective of CH4-BIOPOL is to demonstrate the feasibility of producing EPS from methane by methanotrophs. The control and optimization of the bioproduction of EPS, the understanding of the pathways involved and the physicochemical characterization will be the main objectives of this project.