Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-4-hydroxybutyrate) [(P(3HB-co-4HB)] copolymer receives attention as next generation biomaterial in medical application. However, the exploitation of the copolymer is still constrained since such copolymer has not yet successfully been performed in industrial scale production. In this work, we intended to establish pilot production system of the copolymer retaining the copolymer quality which has recently discovered to have novel characteristic from lab scale fermentation. An increase of agitation speed has significantly improved the copolymer accumulation efficiency by minimizing the utilization of substrates towards cell growth components. This is evidenced by a drastic increase of PHA content from 28 wt% to 63 wt% and PHA concentration from 3.1 g/L to 6.5 g/L but accompanied by the reduction of residual biomass from 8.0 g/L to 3.8 g/L. Besides, fermentations at lower agitation and aeration have resulted in reduced molecular weight and mechanical strength of the copolymer, suggesting the role of sufficient oxygen supply efficiency in improving the properties of the resulting copolymers. The KLa-based scale-up fermentation was performed successfully in maintaining the yield and the quality of the copolymers produced without a drastic fluctuation. This suggests that the scale-up based on the KLa values supported the fermentation system of P(3HB-co-4HB) copolymer production in single-stage using mixed-substrate cultivation strategy.
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