2007 Annual Report
This paragraph serves to document research conducted under a reimbursable agreement #60-1935-3-0042 between ARS and CSREES-NRI (cf. 1935-41000-067-01R). Project researchers cloned genes coding for the PHA synthase (PHAS) of a photosynthetic bacterium; subcloned these genes and fragments for high expression of the proteins for crystallization study; transferred these genes into a soil bacterium to produce a biopolymer having short- and medium-chain-length monomers.
This paragraph serves to document research conducted under a reimbursable agreement #58-1935-4-0412 between ARS and University of Georgia (cf. 1935-41000-067-02S). Crystallographic work was hampered by problems obtaining highly pure proteins. Selenium-methionine-labeled PHAS isolated from E. coli failed to crystallize due to contaminants. Crystallization also failed with methylated PHASs or a PHAS with improved solubility. The ADODR visited the cooperator (fall of 2006) and conducted periodic conference calls to discuss research progress.
This paragraph serves to document research conducted under Cooperative Research and Development Agreement #58-3K95-5-1119 between ARS and an industrial partner (cf. 1935-41000-067-04T). SLs and RLs obtained from fermentation of fats, oils and their derivatives were prepared and sent to the cooperator who then evaluated their performance in the formulation of its commercial products.
This paragraph serves to document research conducted under Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement #58-1935-7-0731N between ARS and Binghamton University (cf. 1935-41000-067-05N). A surplus coproduct of biofuel production was successfully used as an inexpensive component for making biobased composite materials. A manuscript and an invention disclosure have been prepared.
From crude glycerol coproduct to biopolymer: Large amounts of crude glycerol are produced by the expanding biodiesel industry. The excess production of glycerol in turn retards the further expansion of the industry due to the need for costly purification and new glycerol outlets. Researchers at Eastern Regional Research Center, Wyndmoor, PA, showed that glycerol is useful to change the size (molecular weight or M.W.) of a water-soluble biopolymer called gamma-polyglutamic acid (gamma-PGA) produced by a bacterium. Glycerol media concentrations of approximately 8% resulted in gamma-PGA polymers with maximized molecular masses. This new use for glycerol, especially in its crude form, may provide a new outlet for this coproduct and ultimately benefit the biodiesel industry. Furthermore, the ability to tailor the molecular masses of gamma-PGA allows for specific targeting of its application, such as thickening agent in yogurt (requiring high-M.W. PGA) or yogurt-drink (low-M.W. PGA). (NP#306, Quality and Utilization of Agricultural Products; Component 2. New Processes, New Uses, and Value-Added Foods and Biobased Products; Problem Area 2b. New Uses for Agricultural By-products.)
Bioplastics from fermentation of Alaskan fish waste. The Alaskan fishing industry has been struggling with the accumulation of over 2.2 billion pounds of fish by-products per year. There is an urgent need to find new outlet for these coproducts. ARS scientists at the Eastern (Wyndmoor, PA) and the Western (Albany, CA) Regional Research Centers found that the crude fish oil derived from the Alaskan fishing industry could be used as a fermentation substrate in the production of biopolymers called polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA). Depending on the specific organism used, PHA biopolymers were produced that exhibited either thermoplastic (meltable and formable) or elastomeric (rubberlike) characteristics. Because of their varying properties, these polymers have a potentially wide application base that could be attractive for use in industry. This research adds value to an Alaskan fish byproduct while lowering the production costs of PHA biopolymers. (NP#306, Quality and Utilization of Agricultural Products; Component 2. New Processes, New Uses, and Value-Added Foods and Biobased Products; Problem Area 2b. New Uses for Agricultural By-products.)
Panilaitis, B., Castro, G., Solaiman, D., Kaplan, D.L. 2007. Biosynthesis of emulsan biopolymers from agro-based feedstocks. Journal of Applied Microbiology. 102:531-537.
Solaiman, D., Ashby, R.D., Foglia, T.A., Marmer, W.N. 2006. Fermentative production of biopolymers and biosurfactants from glycerol-rich biodiesel coproduct stream and soy molasses. Hou, C.T., Shaw J-F., Editors. Biocatalysis and Biotechnology for Functional Foods and Industrial Products. Boca Raton, FL; CRC Press. p. 431-450.
Ashby, R.D., Cooke, P.H., Solaiman, D. 2007. Topographical Imaging as a Means of Monitoring Biodegradation of Poly(hydroxyalkanoate) Films. Polymers and the Environment. 15(3):179-187.
Solaiman, D., Ashby, R.D., Zerkowski, J.A., Foglia, T.A. 2007. Simplified soy molasses-based medium for reduced-cost production of sophorolipids by Candida bombicola. Biotechnology Letters. DOI 10.1007/S10529-007-9407-5.
Zerkowski, J.A., Solaiman, D. 2007. Polyhydroxy Fatty Acids Derived from Sophorolipids. Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society. 84(5):463-471.