Process integration for efficient conversion of cassava peel waste into polyhydroxyalkanoates

Carmen Hierro-Iglesias, Cornelius O. Fatokun, Annie Chimphango, Richard Bayitse, Paula Helena Blanco Sanchez, Patricia Thornley, Alfred Fernandez-Castane*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are biodegradable polyesters that can be produced from renewable resources. However, PHA biomanufacturing is costly compared to petrochemical-based plastics. A promising solution consists of using cassava (Manhiot esculenta) waste, abundant biomass in developing countries, as a carbon source for PHA production. This study involved characterising untreated and acid-hydrolysed cassava peel (CP) to confirm the degradation of polysaccharides into fermentable sugars after pre-treatment. A chemical and biological integrated process was developed, optimising the pre-treatment using a central composite design. The highest conversion of CP into reducing sugars was 97% (w/w) using 3 M H2SO4, 120 min and 90 ºC. The ability of Cupriavidus necator to grow on CP hydrolysate and produce PHA was screened resulting in up to OD600 15.8 and 1.5 g/L of PHA (31% (gPHA/gDCW)). Flow cytometry allowed rapid, simple, and high-throughput assessment of PHA content. These findings pave the way for developing a biorefinery platform for PHA production from cassava waste.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111815
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Environmental Chemical engineering
Issue number1
Early online date25 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY [], which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • Acid hydrolysis
  • Cassava
  • Cupriavidus necator
  • Polyhydroxyalkanoates
  • Waste valorization


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