Polymer and Carbon-based Food Source

Topics: Polymer, Biotechnology, Polymer chemistry Pages: 1 (302 words) Published: November 26, 2010

Polyhydroxybutyrate is a biopolymer that occurs naturally in bacteria which is used to manufacture this biopolymer. Its structure consists of polyhydroxyalkanoate, which contain two monomers 3-hydroxybutyrate and 3-hydroxyvalerate.

Bacteria growing in tanks with a carbon-based food source in which the polymer is then isolated and purified presently produce the polymer industrially. Biotechnology has been recently used to economically attempt produce the polymer using genetic engineering technique. The advantages of this process are faster growth, better yields, easier recovery, and production of less extra waste biomass and cheaper substrates which can be used to grow the bacteria

The Polyhydroxybutyrate are expensive to produce than a standard plastic as they have the advantage of being biodegradable allowing better waste management. In order to lower the cost, the use of transgenic plants is expected to compete with traditional petroleum-produced polymers.

The production of Polyhydroxybutyrate is well known in the medical field as it is mainly used for surgical pins and internal suture due to its biocompatibility. It has a high melting point with about 175C, which makes the material compatible as containers with high temperature usage. These properties of being biodegradable meaning its products decompose naturally without surgery needed to remove, and biocompatible meaning the body does not react to this polymer or reject it as a foreign object, are important properties in which often uses no fossil fuel based alternative. Despite having many good characteristics, commercial production of Polyhydroxybutyrate bioplastic is still in low level. The production cost is still too high compared to other kinds of bioplastic material. However, since the material is obtained from bacteria, there are some means to decrease the production cost. Some researches have been done to enhance the efficiency of PHB production and the bacteria's...
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