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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Determination of polyhydroxyalkanoates in activated sludge by ion chromatographic and enzymatic methods.

Two new detection methods for the determination of poly-beta-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) and -valerate (PHV) are described. Both methods are based on depolymerization of PHB/PHV to 3-hydroxybutyrate (3HB) and 3-hydroxyvalerate (3HV). Depolymerization was achieved by either propanolic or hydrolytic digestion. Propanolic digestion transformed commercial PHB/PHV stoichiometrically into 3HB/3HV and yielded apparently complete recoveries of bacterial PHB/PHV from activated sludge. Hydrolytic digestion was suitable only for PHB determination. For quantification of 3HB and 3HV directly from digested sludge, a method based on ion-exchange chromatography and conductivity detection was developed (IC-method). Alternatively, the total of 3HB and 3HV was quantified using a commercial enzymatic test kit and colorimetric detection (enzyme method). Both detection methods are easier to perform than previous methods and are suitable for complex matrices such as activated sludge. The IC-method is recommended for high sample throughputs or if distinction between PHB and PHV is essential. Enzymatic detection is recommended if a few samples per day have to be measured immediately or if an ion chromatograph is unavailable.[1]


  1. Determination of polyhydroxyalkanoates in activated sludge by ion chromatographic and enzymatic methods. Hesselmann, R.P., Fleischmann, T., Hany, R., Zehnder, A.J. J. Microbiol. Methods (1999) [Pubmed]
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