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Biodegradable Plastics Produced by Microorganisms

Gunjan Mehta, Virani Science College Rajkot

Overview        Background Importance and Applications Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) PHA Biosynthesis PHA Recovery Polymer Properties Biodegradation .

renewable resources Able to be recycled. fungi and algae 100 % biodegradable Produced from natural. composted or burned without producing toxic byproducts  Benefits Include:    .Background  What are Bioplastics?  Degradable polymers that are naturally degraded by the action of microorganisms such as bacteria.

North America    107 billion pounds of synthetic plastics produced from petroleum Take >50 years to degrade Improper disposal and failure to recycle  overflowing landfills .Importance  2003.

ligament replacements. paper laminates & sheets. bags and containers Automobiles Sutures. utensils. feminine hygiene products. diapers. arterial grafts… Disposable razors. controlled drug release mechanisms. films. containers…  Medical   Household  .Applications  Industry   Products.

Carbon Cycle of Bioplastics Photosynthesis CO2 H2O Biodegradation Plants Carbohydrates Fermentation Recycle Plastic Products PHA Polymer .

2004 ..Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs)  Polyesters accumulated inside microbial cells as carbon & energy source storage Ojumu et al.

N.Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs)  Produced under conditions of:   Low limiting nutrients (P. O) Excess carbon Short-chain-length Medium-chain-length 3-5 Carbons 6-14 Carbons  2 different types:    ~250 different bacteria have been found to produce some form of PHAs . S.

Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB)    Example of short-chainlength PHA Produced in activated sludge Found in Alcaligenes eutrophus  Accumulated intracellularly as granules (>80% cell dry weight) Lee et al.. 1996 .

2004 ..PHA Biosynthesis Ojumu et al.

eutrophus  Structural genes encoded in single operon    PHA synthase b-ketothiolase NADPH-dependent acetoacetyl-CoA reductase Lee et al.phbC-A-B Operon in A. 1996 ..

Recovery of PHAs from Cells     PHA producing microorganisms stained with Sudan black or Nile blue Cells separated out by centrifugation or filtration PHA is recovered using solvents (chloroform) to break cell wall & extract polymer Purification of polymer .

optically pure. water insoluble. impermeable to oxygen Must maintain stability during manufacture and use but degrade rapidly when disposed of or recycled .Bioplastic Properties  Some are stiff and brittle  Crystalline structure  rigidity      Some are rubbery and moldable Properties may be manipulated by blending polymers or genetic modifications Degrades at 185°C Moisture resistant.

moisture. exposed surface area. pH and microbial activity Degrading microbes colonize polymer surface & secrete PHA depolymerases PHA  CO2 + H2O (aerobically) PHA  CO2 + H2O + CH4 (anaerobically) .Biodegradation      Fastest in anaerobic sewage and slowest in seawater Depends on temperature. light.

Biodegradation by PHA depolymerases .

Conclusions  Need for bioplastic optimization:    Economically feasible to produce Cost appealing to consumers Give our landfills a break Show of hands.How many of you would be willing to pay 2-3 times more for plastic products because they were “environmentally friendly”?  Question:  .

Questions or Comments? .