Engineered biosynthesis of biodegradable polymers



Advances in science and technology have resulted in the rapid development of biobased plastics and the major drivers for this expansion are rising environmental concerns of plastic pollution and the depletion of fossil-fuels. This paper presents a broad view on the recent developments of three promising biobased plastics, polylactic acid (PLA), polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) and polybutylene succinate (PBS), well known for their biodegradability. The article discusses the natural and recombinant host organisms used for fermentative production of monomers, alternative carbon feedstocks that have been used to lower production cost, different metabolic engineering strategies used to improve product titers, various fermentation technologies employed to increase productivities and finally, the different downstream processes used for recovery and purification of the monomers and polymers.


Bioplastics Biodegradable polymers Polylactic acid (PLA) Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) Polybutylene succinate (PBS) 



Polylactic acid


Lactic acid bacteria


Simultaneous saccharification and co-fermentation


Membrane cell-recycle bioreactors


Short chain length


Medium chain length


Polyethylene glycol






Polybutylene succinate




Polytrimethylene terephthalate






Pentose phosphoketolase


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Copyright information

© Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Minnesota Twin CitiesMinneapolisUSA

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