Purple bacteria for the biotechnological valorisation of agro-industrial streams

Notarfrancesco, Sarah (2022) Purple bacteria for the biotechnological valorisation of agro-industrial streams, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Ingegneria civile, chimica, ambientale e dei materiali, 34 Ciclo.
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Waste management worldwide has received increasing attention from global policies in recent years. In particular, agro-industrial streams represent a global concern due to the huge volumes generated and a high number of residues, which produce an environmental and economic impact on the ecosystem. The use of biotechnological approaches to treat these streams could allow the production of desirable by-products to be reinjected into the production cycle through sustainable processes. Purple phototrophic bacteria (PPB) are targeted as microorganisms capable to reduce the pressure of agro-industrial streams on environmental issues, due to their metabolic versatility (autotrophic and/or heterotrophic growth under different conditions). This Ph.D. research project aims to assess the effectiveness of PPB cultivation for industrial streams valorisation in the applications of biogas desulfurization and microbial protein production. For these purposes, the first part of the present work is dedicated to the cultivation of purple sulfur bacteria (PSB) for biogas streams upgrading, cleaning biogas from sulfur compounds (H2S), and producing elemental sulfur (S0), potentially suitable as a slow-release fertilizer. The second part of the thesis, instead, sees the application of purple non-sulfur bacteria (PNSB) on streams rich in organics, such as molasses, generating biomass with high content of proteins and pigments, useful as supplements in animal feed. The assessment of the main metabolic mechanisms involved in the two processes is evaluated at a laboratory scale using flasks and a photobioreactor, to define the consumption of substrates and the accumulation of products both in the autotrophic (on biogas) and in heterotrophic grow (on molasses). In conclusion, the effectiveness of processes employing PPB for a sustainable valorisation of several agro-industrial streams has been proved promising, using actual residues, and coupling their treatments with the production of added-value by-products.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Notarfrancesco, Sarah
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
purple phototrophic bacteria; agro-industrial streams valorisation; H2S removal; microbial protein production
Data di discussione
15 Giugno 2022

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