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Minerva Biotecnologica 2016 March;28(1):59-74

language: English

Industrial production of polyhydroxyalkanoates by bacteria: opportunities and challenges

Ahmad GHOLAMI 1, 2, Milad MOHKAM 1, 2, Sara RASOUL-AMINI 1, 2, 3, Younes GHASEMI 1, 2

1 Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Pharmacy, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran; 2 Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran; 3 Department of Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran


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In the recent years, there has been great interest on biodegradable polymers due to the reserve repletion of fossil fuel and the growing concern for the environment. Consequently, polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) as a biodegradable plastic have become the most interesting subject of many researches. Unfortunately for some distinct applications, PHAs cannot be wholly competitive with petroleum-base plastics, in large-scale production’s cost while some of their characteristics are too weak. Therefore, finding a procedure for large-scale and economical production of PHAs is now intensively studied. Several bacterial strains including wild-type and/or recombinant strains combined with an extensive range of utilizable carbon sources have been used. The developments of new fermentation strategies for the efficient production of PHAs at high concentration and productivity have been established. Furthermore, these achievements will decrease the production cost of PHAs and enable them to become one of the most predominant biodegradable polymers in the near future. This paper reviews several aspects of PHAs including the various efforts toward the production of PHAs, the use of inexpensive substrates and the development of various fermentation strategies for the production of these polymers. Finally, this review highlights the opportunities and challenges of these biopolymers in a worldwide competitive market.

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