The lipid fraction of the effluents generated in several food-processing activities can be transformed into polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) and triacylglycerides (TAGs), through open culture biotechnologies. Although competition between storing and non-storing populations in mixed microbial cultures (MMCs) has been widely studied, the right selective environment allowing for the robust enrichment of a community when different types of accumulators coexist is still not clear. In this research, comprehensive metabolic analyses of PHA and TAG synthesis and degradation, and concomitant respiration of external carbon, were used to understand and explain the changes observed in a laboratory-scale bioreactor fed with the lipid-rich fraction (mainly oleic acid) of a wastewater stream produced in the fish-canning industry. It was concluded that the mode of oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen supply determines the enrichment of the culture in specific populations, and hence the type of intracellular compounds preferentially accumulated. Coupled carbon and nitrogen feeding regime mainly selects for TAG producers whereas uncoupled feeding leads to PHA or TAG production function of the rate of carbon supply under specific aeration rates and feast and famine phases lengths.
- Microbial competition
- Mixed microbial culture (MMC)
- Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA)
- Triacylglycerides (TAG)