Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) toward cost competitiveness and functionality

Recent publication within MIX-UP! Congratulations to our partners Guo-Qiang Chen, Xin-Yu Chen, Fu-Qing Wu and Jin-Chun Chen from Tsinghua Univeristy, Beijing.

Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) have been produced by several bacteria as bioplastics in industrial scales. PHA commercialization has been challenging due to its complexity and the associated high cost together with instabilities on molecular weights (Mw) and structures, thus instability on thermo- and mechanical properties. PHA high production cost is related to complicated bioprocessing associated with sterilization, low conversion of carbon substrates to PHA products, and poor growth of microorganisms as well as complicated downstream separation. To reduce complexity of PHA production, robust microorganisms that are contamination resistant bacteria have been targeted especially extremophiles, developments of engineering approaches for extremophiles especially Halomonas spp. for better PHA production have been successfully conducted and termed as “next generation industrial biotechnology” (NGIB). Diverse PHA can also be produced by engineering Halomonas or Pseudomonas spp. This review introduces recent advances on engineering bacteria for enhanced PHA biosynthesis and diversity.

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