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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Polyhydroxyalkanoates: Biorefinery Polymers with a Whole Range of Applications. The work of Robert H. Marchessault

Authors
item Orts, William
item Nobes, Geoffrey - TATE & LYLE, DECATUR,IL
item Kawada, Jumpei - TOYOTA CENTRAL R&D LAB
item Nyuyen, Sophie - BIO SYNTECH CANADA INC
item Yu, Ga-Er - ADVANCED POLYMER MATERIAL
item Raenelle, Francois - LABOPHARM, CANADA

Submitted to: Canadian Journal of Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2008
Publication Date: June 1, 2008
Citation: Orts, W.J., Nobes, G.A., Kawada, J., Nyuyen, S., Yu, G., Raenelle, F. Polyhydroxyalkanoates: Biorefinery Polymers with a Whole Range of Applications. The work of Robert H. Marchessault. Canadian Journal of Chemistry. 86: 628-640. 2008.

Interpretive Summary: Biodegradable plastics that are produced by bacteria, poly(beta-hydroxyalkanoates), PHAs, are the perfect biorefinery complement to ethanol in that they add much needed flexibility to biorefinery operations. The additional income from generating "green plastics, not only hedges bet on the sometimes fickel ethanol market, but it also meets rising demand for environmentally-friendly materials. PHAS, which will have a commercial production of 110 million pounds per year in 2008 display several environmental advantages; the displace petroleum, minimize greenhouse gases, and are fully biodegradable. They provide a range of properties that vary with fermentation conditions, ranging from plastic materials that rival polypropyene to rubbery elastomers. This paper describes the characterization and application of polyhydroxyalkanoates, highlighting its wide array of useful properties and potential applications with specific emphasis on the work of Robert H. Marchessault and his many colleagues.

Technical Abstract: This review describes the characterization and application of polyhydroxyalkanoates, PHAs, a remarkable family of natural polyesters with a wide array of useful properties and potential applications. It places specific emphasis on the work of Robert H. Marchessault and his many colleagues outlining how Marchessault¡¦s body of work, both shaped the field, and complemented the work of his contemporaries. Particular attention will focus on the rediscovery PHAs, highlighting their path toward commercial applications. It will also cover why this class of materials is so unique, including PHA structure/properties relationships, its unique crystalline behaviour, in vivo/ in vitro synthesis and degradation, and PHA-graft-copolymers.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
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