Linking ecology with economy: Insights into polyhydroxyalkanoate-producing microorganisms

Martin Koller, Ilona Gasser, Florian Schmid, Gabriele Berg

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Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) constitute a group of microbial biopolyesters with important ecosystem functions and a high biotechnological potential. During the past decade, the rapid development of new molecular and microscopic techniques resulted in novel insights into the ecology of PHA‐producing bacteria in aquatic and terrestrial microenvironments. Ecosystems showing fluctuating availability of carbon or transient limitation of essential nutrients, e.g. the rhizosphere of plants or estuarine sediments, contain a broad number of various PHA producers. PHA‐producing microorganisms show a widespread phylogenetic diversity and are often characterized by a symbiotic or syntrophic life style. PHA are already produced commercially in large‐scale fermentation. However, they have to compete economically with petrol‐based polymers. Hence, the development of low‐cost production strategies on the basis of …
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-237
JournalEngineering in Life Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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