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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Bioproducts Research » Research » Research Project #427261

Research Project: Production of Bioplastics from Food and Agricultural Waste

Location: Bioproducts Research

Project Number: 2030-41000-054-04-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 23, 2014
End Date: Jun 22, 2019

Objective:
The objective of this project is to optimize production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA’s) from food and agricultural waste. ARS and B2E technology use the volatile fatty acids (VFAs) from anaerobic digestion as a carbon feedstock to produce PHA via fermentation using mixed bacterial cultures. A secondary objective is to explore other industrial uses for the VFA’s, such as production of calcium and magnesium acetate, and to develop scalable processes for their production. The target is to help the rural economy by utilizing regionally-available waste streams from agricultural-processing for cost effective VFA production.

Approach:
Use anaerobic digestion to produce VFA–rich fermentation broth from food and agricultural waste and assess the concentration of the different VFA’s using ARS analytical equipment; (2) Use mixed culture aerobic bacteria to utilize the VFA’s and create PHA’s of varying properties; (3) Assess the amount of PHA (GC-FID), composition of PHA (GC-FID), and properties of PHA (materials properties lab) using ARS analytical equipment; (4) Assess larger scale fermentations using space in the ARS Pilot Plant; (5) Extrude and injection mold PHA using ARS extrusion equipment; and (6) Separate and concentrate VFA’s for use in other industrial applications.