PHB Detection

The purpose of experimentation was to determine which carbon source – glucose, glycerol, or maple syrup – caused Bacillus megaterium to produce the most poly-β-hydroxybutyric acid (PHB) by utilizing a UV spectrophotometer to compare the differing absorbance values of the bacterial byproducts at 235 nm and by employing a standard curve to calculate the dry weight of PHB in each media. One of the ultimate goals of experimentation was to ascertain an inexpensive method to produce great quantities of PHB, which can be used to create biodegradable plastics. Each of the carbon sources chosen had a specific advantage. Glycerol is an undesirable byproduct of methanol and alkali catalysis, a methyl ester process used to make biodiesel. Glucose is an easily accessible simple sugar, and maple syrup is a plentiful natural product. Thus, PHB production would be beneficial in any one of the media, but the most advantageous result would be if the greatest production was in the glycerol media so that the process of creating biodiesel would have minimal negative side effects. Production of PHB in glucose would be beneficial as well due to its accessibility, and maple syrup provides a natural process of generating a nature-friendly plastic. The study demonstrates that the most effective carbon source was maple syrup for the media containing maple syrup as a nutrient supplement led to the greatest production of PHB.

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