Dynamic metabolic modelling of volatile fatty acids conversion to polyhydroxyalkanoates by a mixed microbial culture
•A dynamic model for PHA production from complex mixtures of VFA was developed.•The metabolic model builds upon a previously published flux balance analysis study.•A regulation factor was defined to minimize the TCA cycle activity observed in MMC.•The experimental data dynamics was successfully described by the model predictions.
In this work, we present a dynamic metabolic model that describes the uptake of complex mixtures of volatile fatty acids (VFA) and respective conversion into PHA by mixed microbial cultures (MMC). This model builds upon a previously published flux balance analysis model  that identified the minimization of TCA cycle activity as the key metabolic objective to predict PHA storage fluxes and respective composition. The model was calibrated either with experimental data of PHA production from fermented sugar cane molasses or from synthetic mixtures of VFA. All PHA production experiments were performed using a MMC selected with fermented sugar cane molasses under feast and famine regimen. The model was able to capture the process dynamics denoted by an excellent fit between experimental and computed time profiles of concentrations with the regression coefficients always above 0.92. The introduced VFA uptake regulatory factor reflects the decrease of acetyl-CoA and propionyl-CoA available to TCA cycle in conformity with the hypothesis that the minimization of TCA cycle is a key metabolic objective for MMC subjected to feast and famine regimen for the maximization of PHA production.
Journal: New Biotechnology - Volume 31, Issue 4, 25 June 2014, Pages 335–344