Journal article Open Access
Markl, Erich; Grünbichler, Hannes; Lackner, Maximilian
Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, can be used as host to produce polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), which are promising bioplastic raw materials. The most important material thereof is polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), which can replace the commodity polymer polypropylene (PP) in many applications, yielding a bio-based, biodegradable alternative solution. The advantage from using cyanobacteria to make PHB over the standard fermentation processes, with sugar or other organic (waste) materials as feedstock, is that the sustainability is better (compare first-generation biofuels with the feed vs. fuel debate), with CO2 being the only carbon source and sunlight being the sole energy source. In this review article, the state of the art of cyanobacterial PHB production and its outlook is discussed. Thirty-seven percent of dry cell weight of PHB could be obtained in 2018, which is getting close to up to 78% of PHB dry cell weight in heterotrophic microorganisms in fermentation reactors. A good potential for cyanobacterial PHB is seen throughout the literature.