PHB Production, Properties, and Applications
The mechanical properties of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) make them suitable replacements for different petrochemically produced plastics, such as polyethylene and polypropylene, but advantageous to these commodity plastics PHAs are completely degradable to carbon dioxide and water through natural microbiological mineralization. The polymer is primarily a product of carbon assimilation (from glucose or starch) and is employed by microorganisms as a form of energy storage molecule to be metabolized when other common energy sources are not available. This was due to the fact that the utilization of waste materials upgraded to the role of starting material for PHA biosynthesis constitutes a viable strategy for cost-efficient biopolymer production and helps the industry to overcome disposal problems. Many waste streams from agricultural and agro-industry are potentially useful substrates and possibly may contribute to an economic P(3HB) production.