About this Research Topic
The negative effects of petrochemical-derived plastics on the global environment, and depletion of global fossil fuel supplies, have paved the way for developing new technologies for the production of materials that have polymer-like properties with great potential in biomedical and industrial applications. Among the various types of biopolymers, polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) have attracted attention as biodegradable and biocompatible alternatives to synthetic polymers. Many bacteria have become efficient cell factories for PHAs production due to their metabolic versatility and a remarkable tolerance to a wide range of carbon sources. Although many studies have been carried out on improving PHAs productivity and their final properties, there is still limited knowledge about the regulatory networks that drive their synthesis and accumulation in bacterial cells.
The high manufacturing costs hamper PHAs synthesis on a large scale. Research into the microbial synthesis of these biopolymers should aim at improving the cost-effectiveness and the efficiency of their recovery. To make the PHAs production process more feasible, it is essential to put greater effort into the high-throughput screening of potential new bacterial producers and to optimize the fermentation process using low-cost carbon sources. A greater understanding of the genetic and metabolic regulation that drives PHAs synthesis could lead to the construction of suitable bacterial platforms able to provide modified biopolymers with potential in many industrial fields.
This Research Topic aims to present a series of Original Research articles and Review papers covering the latest advances in the microbial synthesis of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs).
This Topic can include:
• Development and design of novel bioprocesses towards the improvement of PHAs production;
• Description of novel microbes as PHAs producers of industrial interest;
• Molecular mechanisms leading to PHAs synthesis and accumulation;
• Metabolic engineering to improve PHAs productivity;
• Solutions to decrease overall production costs of microbial PHAs.
Keywords: Bioconversion, Biodegradable Polymers, Biopolymers, Co-Polymers, Co-Production, High Cell-Density Culture, Polyhydroxyalkanoates, Pure/Mixed Cultures, Metabolic Engineering, Molecular Mechanisms
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