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Poly(3-hydroxybutyric acid) (PHB) is accumulated by several microorganisms as carbon and energy reservoir. PHB is a biodegradable thermoplastics that is currently in use in industry, medicine and agriculture. We have recently reported the production of PHB by a novel species Halomonas boliviensis. These are the first studies on PHA production by Halomonas species. Using this strain, we have attained PHB volumetric productivities similar to those reported for the best polymer producers in fermentation systems. Furthermore, we achieved efficient procedures to recover the polymer synthesized at different yields by H. boliviensis. On the other hand, we found that polymers produced by H. boliviensis and a newly isolated Halomonas sp. show to be a new source of materials that may be used in tissue engineering. Research on a process that combines the production of PHB and osmolytes, e.g. ectoine and hydroxyectoine, is in progress.

Researcher: Jorge Quillaguaman
Supervisor: Rajni Hatti-Kaul