Novel Renewable Carbon Source

  • Author: ChemistryViews
  • Published: 09 January 2012
  • Copyright: WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
  • Source / Publisher: Clean - Soil, Air, Water/Wiley-Blackwell
thumbnail image: Novel Renewable Carbon Source

Oil palm tree trunks (OPT) that were felled for replanting contained large quantities of high sugar content sap.

Kumar Sudesh, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, and colleagues evaluated the potential of sap extracted from felled OPT as a novel inexpensive renewable carbon source for the production of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) by Bacillus megaterium MC1. PHAs are produced in nature by bacterial fermentation of sugar or lipids to store carbon and energy. More than 150 different monomers can be combined within this family to give materials with extremely different properties. They are used in the production of biodegradable plastics.

OPT sap was found to be nutritionally rich and contained various fermentable sugars (5.5 % w/v) as its major constituent. The bacterial growth of the termite gut isolate B. megaterium MC1 was comparable to growth on commercially available media.


Considering the amount of palm trees felled annually to be in millions, OPT sap represents a promising raw material for the bioplastic industry.


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