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Chapter 10

Biodegradation of Poly (3-hydroxyalkanoates)

Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are polyesters of hydroxyalkanoates synthesized by numerous bacteria as an intracellular carbon and energy storage compounds. PHAs have attracted much attention as substitute for non-degradable plastics derived from petrochemicals because of their similar material properties to conventional plastics along with complete biodegradability under natural environmental conditions upon disposal. In this chapter, extracellular as well as intracellular biodegradation of PHAs by diverse bacteria and fungi is reviewed. Several topics namely, factors affecting biodegradation of plastics, methods used for isolation of PHA degrading organisms, biodegradation of PHAs, biochemical properties of several PHA depolymerases produced by variety of organisms are discussed in detail in this chapter. It also includes mechanisms of action of intracellular as well as extracellular PHB depolymerases with major emphasis on mode of action of extracellular PHB depolymerase from Pseudomonas lemoignei and Penicillium funiculosum as well as intracellular PHB depolymerase of Cupriavidus necator.

Print publication date: 23 Jun 2011
Copyright year: 2011
Print ISBN: 978-1-84973-151-5
PDF eISBN: 978-1-84973-345-8
From the book series:
Green Chemistry Series