This report presents an integrated biorefinery concept in which wheat straw hydrolysate was treated with co-cultures of osmotolerant thermophilic bacterial strains, Caldicellulosiruptor saccharolyticus and C. owensensis to obtain hydrogen, while the liquid effluent containing acetate and residual glucose was used as feed for polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) production by Ralstonia eutropha. The Caldicellulosiruptor spp. co-culture consumed 10.8 g/L of pretreated straw sugars, glucose and xylose, producing 134 mmol H2/L. PHB accumulation by R. eutropha was first studied in minimal salts medium using acetate with/without glucose as carbon source. Addition of salts promoted cell growth and PHB production in the effluent. Fed-batch cultivation in a nitrogen limited medium with 40% (v/v) aeration resulted in a cell density of 15.1 g/L with PHB content of 80.1% w/w and PHB concentration of 12.1 g/L, while 20% aeration gave a cell density of 11.3 g/L with 83.4% w/w PHB content and 9.4 g/L PHB concentration.
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