Agricultural Residue Feedstock Selection for Polyhydroxyalkanoates Production using AHP-GRA

Princess J. Requiso1,2, Fidel Rey P. Nayve Jr.2, Catalino G. Alfafara3,
Ruby Lynn G. Ventura4, Erwin C. Escobar1, and Jey-R S. Ventura1*

1Department of Engineering Science, College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology,
University of the Philippines Los Baños, College, Los Baños, Laguna 4031 Philippines
2National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH),
University of the Philippines Los Baños, College, Los Baños, Laguna 4031 Philippines
3Department of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology,
University of the Philippines Los Baños, College, Los Baños, Laguna 4031 Philippines
4University of the Philippines Rural High School, College of Arts and Science,
University of the Philippines Los Baños, Paciano Rizal, Bay, Laguna 4033 Philippines

*Corresponding author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



The potential of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) as substitute to durable petroleum-based plastics is currently explored because of its biodegradability and satisfactory properties. However, its high production cost – primarily due to the cost of substrate – limits its commercialization. As a solution, lignocellulosic agricultural residues can be used as feedstock to lower the production cost. To systematically determine the best agricultural residue for PHA production, this study employed the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and Grey Relational Analysis (GRA). Based on the results, it was identified that the feedstock composition criterion was given a higher weight over the economic criterion. Additionally, conversion efficiency was ranked first in terms of the overall weights of all the criteria, followed by cellulose content and processing cost. GRA showed that corn stover was the most preferred lignocellulosic substrate for PHA production, followed by banana pseudostem and sugarcane bagasse. Sensitivity analysis also proved that corn stover is an excellent feedstock candidate, particularly if conversion efficiency and processing cost criteria are given higher weights. Related studies such as economic and life cycle analyses, as well as process improvement, may also be incorporated with the results of this study to provide comprehensive information on selecting a suitable feedstock for sustainable PHA production.



Petroleum-based plastics such as polypropylene and polyethylene are extensively used because of their durability, stability, and favorable thermal properties. These qualities made them very suitable for many packaging applications compared with glass and paper. However, the accumulation of recalcitrant plastic wastes – together with the current petroleum problem – has become a serious issue. Every year, about 4% of petroleum resources consumed worldwide is used to produce plastics, and another 4% is used to power plastic manufacturing processes (Gourmelon 2015). Non-biodegradable plastics also progressively accumulate in nature over time, causing serious environmental impacts such as marine ecosystem destruction and land pollution. In 2010, the Philippines produced around 1.88 million metric tons (MMT) of mismanaged plastic wastes per year, with about 0.28–0.75 MMT entering the ocean (Jambeck et al. 2015). This makes the country one of the highest contributors of plastic pollution in the marine environment (Jambeck et al. 2015; Lebreton et al. 2017). . . . . read more



ANTONIO RMDR, DELA CRUZ AAC, QUINTO ASJ, CORDERO PR, DIMAANO MNR. 2015. Bioethanol production from pineapple (Ananas comosus) peelings using Saccharomyces cerevisiae as fermenting yeast with focus on fermentation pH. Int J Eng Res Technol 4(5): 356–360.
CASTILHO LR, MITCHELL DA, FREIRE DMG. 2009. Production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) from waste materials and by-products by submerged and solid-state fermentation. Bioresour Technol 100: 5996–6009.
COBULOGLU HI, BÜYÜKTAHTAKIN  IE. 2015. A stochastic multi-criteria decision analysis for sustainable biomass crop selection. Expert Syst Appl 42: 6065–74.
[DBP] Development Bank of the Philippines. 2015. One-pager information on current developments in agriculture: Sugarcane industry. Industry Monitor: Strategic Planning and Research. Retrieved from on 02 Jun 2017.
DENG J. 1982. Control problems of grey systems. Syst Control Lett 1: 288–294.
ESPINO RRC, ESPINO MRC. 2014. The status of the fruit industry in the Philippines. Food and Fertilizer Technology Center. Retrieved from on 02 Jun 2017.
FEIZ R, AMMENBERG J. 2017. Assessment of feedstocks for biogas production, part I – A multi-criteria approach. Resour Conserv Recycl 122: 373–387.
GERPACIO RV, LABIOS JD, LABIOS RV, DIANGKINAY EI. 2004. Maize in the Philippines: Production systems, constraints, and research priorities. Mexico: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). 37p.
GETACHEW A, WOLDESENBET F. 2016. Production of biodegradable plastic by polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) accumulating bacteria using low cost agricultural waste material. BMC Res Notes 9 (509): 1–9.
GOURMELON G. 2015. Global plastic production rises, recycling lags: New Worldwatch Institute analysis explores trends in global plastic consumption and recycling. Retrieved from on 02 Jun 2017.
HAAS R, JIN B, ZEPF FT. 2008. Production of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) from waste potato starch. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 72(1): 253–256.
HO W. 2008. Integrated analytic hierarchy process and its applications – A literature review. Eur J Oper Res 186: 211–228.
HUANG C, WU X, HUANG Y, LAI C, LI X, YONG Q. 2016. Prewashing enhances the liquid hot water pretreatment efficiency of waste wheat straw with high free ash content. Bioresour Technol 219: 583–588.
JAMBECK JR, GEYER R, WILCOX C, SIEGLER MP, ANDRADY A, NARAYAN R, LAW KL. 2015. Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean. Science 347(6223): 768–771.
JIANG G, HILL DJ, KOWALCZUK M, JOHNSTON B, ADAMUS G, IRORERE V, RADECKA I. 2016. Carbon sources for polyhydroxyalkanoates and an integrated biorefinery. Int J Mol Sci 17(1157): 1–21.
KHAIRA A, DWIVEDI RK. 2017. A state-of-the-art review of analytic hierarchy process. Mater Today: Proc 5(2018): 4029–35.
KHANG DS, PROMENTILLA MAB, TAN RR, ABE N, TUAN PD, RAZON, LF. 2016. Multi-criteria approach to assess stakeholders’ preferences for selection of biodiesel feedstock in Vietnam. Int. J. Business and Systems Research 10(2-4): 306–331.
KUO Y, YANG T, HUANG GW. 2008. The use of grey relational analysis in solving multiple attribute decision-making problems. Comput Ind Eng 55: 80–93.
LEBRETON LCM, VAN DER ZWEET J, DAMSTEEG J, ANDRADY A, REISSER J. 2017. River plastic emissions to the world’s ocean. Nat Commun 8: 1–10.
MARTINEZ GA, BERTIN L, SCOMA A, REBECCHI S, BRAUNEGG G, FAVA F. 2015. Production of polyhydroxyalkanoates from dephenolised and fermented olive mill wastewaters by employing a pure culture of Cupriavidus necator. Biochem Eng J 997: 92–100.
MEDINA JD, GARCIA HS. 2005. Pineapple: Post-harvest operations. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. 38p.
MTUI GYS. 2009. Recent advances in pretreatment of lignocellulosic wastes and production of value added products. Afr J Biotechnol 8(8): 1398–1415.
NWOKOAGBARA E, OLALEYE AK, WANG M. 2015. Biodiesel from microalgae: The use of multi-criteria decision analysis for strain selection. Fuel 159: 241–249.
PANDEY A, NEGI S, BINOD P, LARROCHE C. 2014. Pre-treatment of biomass: Processes and technologies. Netherlands: Elsevier. 272p.
PANDIAN SR, DEEPA V, KALISHWARALAI K, RAMESHKUMAR N, JEYARAJ M, GURUNATHAN S. 2010. Optimization and fed-batch production of PHB utilizing dairy waste and sea water nutrient sources by Bacillus megaterium SRKP-3. Bioresour Technol 101: 705–711.
PROWSE W. 2013. The banana market in Asia: A market dominated by the Philippines. In: FruiTrop No. 210. France: Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD). 92p.
ROC BFV. 2012. Investments for sweet sorghum sought. Business World Online. Retrieved from on 02 Jun 2018.
SAATY TL. 1980. The analytic hierarchy process: Planning, priority setting, resource allocation. New York: McGraw-Hill. 287p.
SAELEE S, PAWEEWAN B, TONGPOOL R, WITOON T, TAKADA J, MANUSBOONPURMPOOL K. 2014. Biomass type selection for boilers using TOPSIS multi-criteria model. Int J Environ Sci Dev 5(2): 181–186.
SALLEHUDDIN R, SHAMSUDDIN SMH, HASHIM SZM. 2008. Application of grey relational analysis for multivariate time series. In: Eighth International Conference on Intelligent Systems Design and Applications; 26–28 Nov 2008; Kaohsiung, Taiwan: IEEE Computer Society. p. 432-437.
TAHERZADEH M, KARIMI K. 2007. Acid-based hydrolysis processes for ethanol from lignocellulosic materials: A review. Bioresources 2(3): 472-499.
TAN RR, PROMENTILLA MAB. 2013. A methodology for augmenting sparse pairwise comparison matrices in AHP: Applications to energy systems. Clean Technol Environ Policy 15: 713–719.
THOMPSON J, TYNER W. 2011. Corn stover for bioenergy production: Cost estimates and farmer supply response. Renewable Energy: Fueling and Feeding America Through Renewable Resources. Retrieved from on 02 Jun 2017.
YU J, STAHL H. 2008. Microbial utilization and biopolyester synthesis of bagasse hydrolysates. Bioresour Technol 99(17): 8042–48.