This study reports the production of P(3HB-co-4HB) [Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-4-hydroxybutyrate)] in possession of high molecular weight and elastomeric properties by Cupriavidus sp. USMAA1020 in single-stage mixed-substrate cultivation system. 1,4-butanediol and 1,6-hexanediol are found to be efficient substrate mixture that has resulted in high copolymer yield, occupying a maximum of 70wt% of the total biomass and producing higher 4HB monomer composition ranging from 31mol% to 41mol%. In substrate mixtures involving 1,6-hexanediol, cleavage of the 6-hydroxyhexanoyl-CoA produces Acetyl-CoA and 4-hydroxybutyryl-CoA. Acetyl-CoA is instrumental in initiating the cell growth in the single-stage fermentation system, preventing 4-hydroxybutyryl-CoA from being utilized via β-oxidation and retained the 4HB monomer at higher ratios. Macroscopic kinetic models of the bioprocesses have revealed that the P(3HB-co-4HB) formation appears to be in the nature of mixed-growth associated with higher formation rate during exponential growth phase; evidenced by higher growth associated constants, α, from 0.0690g/g to 0.4615g/g compared to non-growth associated constants, β, from 0.0092g/g/h to 0.0459g/g/h. The P(3HB-co-31mol% 4HB) produced from the substrate mixture exhibited high weight-average molecular weight, Mwof 927kDa approaching a million Dalton, and possessed elongation at break of 1637% upon cultivation at 0.56wt% C. This is the first report on such properties for the P(3HB-co-4HB) copolymer. The copolymer is highly resistant to polymer deformation after being stretched.
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