A review on enzymes and pathways for manufacturing polyhydroxybutyrate from lignocellulosic materials

Nausheen Jaffur, Pratima Jeetah, Gopalakrishnan Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Currently, major focus in the biopolymer field is being drawn on the exploitation of plant-based resources grounded on holistic sustainability trends to produce novel, affordable, biocompatible and environmentally safe polyhydroxyalkanoate biopolymers. The global PHA market, estimated at USD 62 Million in 2020, is predicted to grow by 11.2 and 14.2% between 2020–2024 and 2020–2025 correspondingly based on market research reports. The market is primarily driven by the growing demand for PHA products by the food packaging, biomedical, pharmaceutical, biofuel and agricultural sectors. One of the key limitations in the growth of the PHA market is the significantly higher production costs associated with pure carbon raw materials as compared to traditional polymers. Nonetheless, considerations such as consumer awareness on the toxicity of petroleum-based plastics and strict government regulations towards the prohibition of the use and trade of synthetic plastics are expected to boost the market growth rate. This study throws light on the production of polyhydroxybutyrate from lignocellulosic biomass using environmentally benign techniques via enzyme and microbial activities to assess its feasibility as a green substitute to conventional plastics. The novelty of the present study is to highlight the recent advances, pretreatment techniques to reduce the recalcitrance of lignocellulosic biomass such as dilute and concentrated acidic pretreatment, alkaline pretreatment, steam explosion, ammonia fibre explosion (AFEX), ball milling, biological pretreatment as well as novel emerging pretreatment techniques notably, high-pressure homogenizer, electron beam, high hydrostatic pressure, co-solvent enhanced lignocellulosic fractionation (CELF) pulsed-electric field, low temperature steep delignification (LTSD), microwave and ultrasound technologies. Additionally, inhibitory compounds and detoxification routes, fermentation downstream processes, life cycle and environmental impacts of recovered natural biopolymers, review green procurement policies in various countries, PHA strategies in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) along with the fate of the spent polyhydroxybutyrate are outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Article number483
Journal3 Biotech
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Nov

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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