Thauera aminoaromatica MZ1T Identified as a Polyhydroxyalkanoate-Producing Bacterium within a Mixed Microbial Consortium

Dana Colpa, Wen Zhou, Jan Pier Wempe, Jelmer Tamis, Janneke Krooneman, Gerrit Jan Willem Euverink, Marc C. A. Stuart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) form a highly promising class of bioplastics for the transition from fossil fuel-based plastics to bio-renewable and biodegradable plastics. Mixed microbial consortia (MMC) are known to be able to produce PHAs from organic waste streams. Knowledge of key-microbes and their characteristics in PHA-producing consortia is necessary for further process optimization and direction towards synthesis of specific types of PHAs. In this study, a PHA-producing mixed microbial consortium (MMC) from an industrial pilot plant was characterized and further enriched on acetate in a laboratory-scale selector with a working volume of 5 L. 16S-rDNA microbiological population analysis of both the industrial pilot plant and the 5 L selector revealed that the most dominant species within the population is Thauera aminoaromatica MZ1T, a Gram-negative beta-proteobacterium belonging to the order of the Rhodocyclales. The relative abundance of this Thauera species increased from 24 to 40% after two months of enrichment in the selector-system, indicating a competitive advantage, possibly due to the storage of a reserve material such as PHA. First experiments with T. aminoaromatica MZ1T showed multiple intracellular granules when grown in pure culture on a growth medium with a C:N ratio of 10:1 and acetate as a carbon source. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analyses upon extraction of PHA from the pure culture confirmed polyhydroxybutyrate production by T. aminoaromatica MZ1T.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2020


  • fossil fuel-based plastics
  • transition
  • bio-renewable plastics
  • biodegradable plastics
  • thauera aminoaromatica MZ1T
  • mixed microbial consortium
  • microbiology


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