The global pollution caused by plastics and microplastics is stimulating intense research towards more environmentally friendly materials, preserving the remarkable application characteristics of the currently available polymers. Among these, polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) have been hailed as the solution to replace conventional, oil-based plastics. Given their biodegradable nature and mechanical properties, their use can be envisioned in a wide range of applications reducing the environmental footprint. Several types of processes have been proposed for their production, which can be grouped in three main classes: (i) microbiological, (ii) enzymatic and (iii) chemical processes. Given the significant amount of literature available on this topic, this review aims to critically analyse what has been proposed so far in each of these classes, with specific reference to their potential to provide bioplastics that can actually replace the currently available materials. A comparison is made, based on the following aspects: achievable molecular structures (such as molecular weight and composition distributions), raw-material and production costs and availability of large-scale production technologies. Finally, some considerations and ideas on what should be further investigated and implemented to realize the economically sustainable production of PHA are brought forward.

Current trends in the production of biodegradable bioplastics: The case of polyhydroxyalkanoates

Medeiros Garcia Alcântara J.;Distante F.;Storti G.;Moscatelli D.;Morbidelli M.;Sponchioni M.
2020

Abstract

The global pollution caused by plastics and microplastics is stimulating intense research towards more environmentally friendly materials, preserving the remarkable application characteristics of the currently available polymers. Among these, polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) have been hailed as the solution to replace conventional, oil-based plastics. Given their biodegradable nature and mechanical properties, their use can be envisioned in a wide range of applications reducing the environmental footprint. Several types of processes have been proposed for their production, which can be grouped in three main classes: (i) microbiological, (ii) enzymatic and (iii) chemical processes. Given the significant amount of literature available on this topic, this review aims to critically analyse what has been proposed so far in each of these classes, with specific reference to their potential to provide bioplastics that can actually replace the currently available materials. A comparison is made, based on the following aspects: achievable molecular structures (such as molecular weight and composition distributions), raw-material and production costs and availability of large-scale production technologies. Finally, some considerations and ideas on what should be further investigated and implemented to realize the economically sustainable production of PHA are brought forward.
Biodegradable
Bioplastics
Chemical
Enzymatic
Fermentation
Microbiological
Polyhydroxyalkanoates
Production
Ring-opening polymerization
Biodegradation, Environmental
Plastics
Polyhydroxyalkanoates
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1146558
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