Conversion of agricultural feedstock and coproducts into poly(hydroxyalkanoates)
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- Solaiman, D.K.Y., Ashby, R.D., Foglia, T.A. et al. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol (2006) 71: 783. doi:10.1007/s00253-006-0451-1
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Aside from their importance to the survival and general welfare of mankind, agriculture and its related industries produce large quantities of feedstocks and coproducts that can be used as inexpensive substrates for fermentative processes. Successful adoption of these materials into commercial processes could further the realization of a biorefinery industry based on agriculturally derived feedstocks. One potential concept is the production of poly(hydroxyalkanoate) (PHA) polymers, a family of microbial biopolyesters with a myriad of possible monomeric compositions and performance properties. The economics for the fermentative production of PHA could benefit from the use of low-cost agricultural feedstocks and coproducts. This mini-review provides a brief survey of research performed in this area, with specific emphasis on studies describing the utilization of intact triacylglycerols (vegetable oils and animal fats), dairy whey, molasses, and meat-and-bone meal as substrates in the microbial synthesis of PHA polymers.