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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Bioproducts Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #322349

Research Project: Technologies for Improving Industrial Biorefineries that Produce Marketable Biobased Products

Location: Bioproducts Research

Title: Methanotrophic production of copolymer, poly(hydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate), with high hydroxyvalerate content

item Cal, Andrew
item Ponce, Maria
item Franquivillanueva, Diana
item Orts, William
item PIEJA, ALLISON - Mango Materials
item Lee, Charles

Submitted to: International Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/22/2016
Publication Date: 3/7/2016
Citation: Cal, A.J., Ponce, M.I., Franquivillanueva, D.M., Orts, W.J., Pieja, A., Lee, C.C. 2016. Methanotrophic production of copolymer, poly(hydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate), with high hydroxyvalerate content. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. 87:302.

Interpretive Summary: Fossil fuel-derived plastics dominate our society and result in long term environmental pollution. Renewable, biodegradable polymers made by microorganisms could displace much of this plastic. We have isolated a microorganism that is capable of consuming methane, a biogas, and producing high levels of poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) homopolymer. Because PHB does not have the performance characteristics demanded by industry, we developed a strategy to make a copolymer by incorporating valeric acid. This new copolymer has much better processing qualities for commercial usage.

Technical Abstract: Type II methanotrophic bacteria are a promising production platform for PHA biopolymers. These bacteria are known to produce pure poly-3-hydroxybutyrate homopolymer. We describe the production of a wide range of PHB-co-HV co-polymers by the co-feeding of methane and valerate. The ratio of HB to HV monomer was directly related to the concentration of valeric acid in the PHA accumulation media. We observed increased incorporation of HV and total polymer under copper-free growth conditions. The PHB-co-HV copolymers produced had decreased melting temperatures and crystallinity compared with methanotroph produced PHB.