Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are a group of bioplastics that have a wide range of applications. Extensive progress has been made in our understanding of PHAs’ biosynthesis, and currently, it is possible to engineer bacterial strains to produce PHAs with desired properties. The substrates for the fermentative production of PHAs are primarily derived from food-based carbon sources, raising concerns over the sustainability of their production in terms of their impact on food prices. This paper gives an overview of the current carbon sources used for PHA production and the methods used to transform these sources into fermentable forms. This allows us to identify the opportunities and restraints linked to future sustainable PHA production. Hemicellulose hydrolysates and crude glycerol are identified as two promising carbon sources for a sustainable production of PHAs. Hemicellulose hydrolysates and crude glycerol can be produced on a large scale during various second generation biofuels’ production. An integration of PHA production within a modern biorefinery is therefore proposed to produce biofuels and bioplastics simultaneously. This will create the potential to offset the production cost of biofuels and reduce the overall production cost of PHAs.
Jiang, G., Hill, D. J., Kowalczuk, M., Johnston, B., Adamus, G., Irorere, V., & Radecka, I. (2016). Carbon Sources for Polyhydroxyalkanoates and an Integrated Biorefinery. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 17(7). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17071157