Engineered biosynthesis of biodegradable polymers

Pooja Jambunathan, Kechun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Advances in science and technology have resulted in the rapid development of biobased plastics and the major drivers for this expansion are rising environmental concerns of plastic pollution and the depletion of fossil-fuels. This paper presents a broad view on the recent developments of three promising biobased plastics, polylactic acid (PLA), polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) and polybutylene succinate (PBS), well known for their biodegradability. The article discusses the natural and recombinant host organisms used for fermentative production of monomers, alternative carbon feedstocks that have been used to lower production cost, different metabolic engineering strategies used to improve product titers, various fermentation technologies employed to increase productivities and finally, the different downstream processes used for recovery and purification of the monomers and polymers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1037-1058
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under the Center for Sustainable Polymers CHE-1413862.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology.


  • Biodegradable polymers
  • Bioplastics
  • Polybutylene succinate (PBS)
  • Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA)
  • Polylactic acid (PLA)


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