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Bacterial polyhydroxyalkanoates: Still fabulous?

Możejko-Ciesielska, Justyna, Kiewisz, Robert
Microbiological research 2016 v.192 pp. 271-282
bacteria, biocompatible materials, carbon, climate change, energy, industrial applications, markets, petroleum, plastics, polyhydroxyalkanoates, renewable resources
Bacterial polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are polyesters accumulated as carbon and energy storage materials under limited growth conditions in the presence of excess carbon sources. They have been developed as biomaterials with unique properties for the past many years being considered as a potential substitute for conventional non-degradable plastics. Due to the increasing concern towards global climate change, depleting petroleum resource and problems with an utilization of a growing number of synthetic plastics, PHAs have gained much more attention from industry and research. These environmentally friendly microbial polymers have great potential in biomedical, agricultural, and industrial applications. However, their production on a large scale is still limited. This paper describes the backgrounds of PHAs and discussed the current state of knowledge on the polyhydroxyalkanoates. Ability of bacteria to convert different carbon sources to PHAs, the opportunities and challenges of their introduction to global market as valuable renewable products have been also discussed.