Polyhydroyalkanoates: from Basic Research and Molecular Biology to Application


  • Amro Abd alFattah Amara




This review describes the Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), an intracellular biodegradable microbial polymer. PHAs is formed from different types of three hydroxyalkanoic acids monomers, each unit forms an ester bond with the hydroxyl group of the other one and the hydroxyl substituted carbon has R configuration. The C-3 atom in β position is branched with at least one carbon atom in the form of methyl group (C1) to thirteen carbons in the form of tridecyl (C13). This alkyl side chain is not necessarily saturated. PHAs are biosynthesized through regulated pathways by specific enzymes. PHAs are accumulated in bacterial cells from soluble to insoluble form as storage materials inside the inclusion bodies during unbalanced nutrition or to save organisms from reducing equivalents. PHAs are converted again to soluble components by PHAs depolymerases and the degraded materials enter various metabolic pathways. Until now, four classes of enzymes responsible for PHAs polymerization are known. PHAs were well studied regarding their promising applications, physical, chemical and biological properties. PHAs are biodegradable, biocompatible, have good material properties, renewable and can be used in many applications. The most limiting factor in PHAs commercialization is their high cost compared to the petroleum plastics. This review highlights the new knowledge and that established by the pioneers in this field as well as the factors, which affect PHAs commercialization.


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How to Cite

Abd alFattah Amara, A. (2010). Polyhydroyalkanoates: from Basic Research and Molecular Biology to Application. IIUM Engineering Journal, 9(1), 37–73. https://doi.org/10.31436/iiumej.v9i1.95