such as "Introduction", "Conclusion"..etc
A team of pioneering South Korean scientists have succeeded in
producing the polymers used for everyday plastics through
bioengineering, rather than through the use of fossil fuel based
chemicals. This groundbreaking research, which may now allow for the
production of environmentally conscious plastics, is published in two
papers in the journal Biotechnology and Bioengineering.
Polymers are molecules found in everyday life in the form of
plastics and rubbers. The team, from the KAIST University and the
Korean chemical company LG Chem, led by Professor Sang Yup Lee focused
their research on polylactic acid (PLA), a bio-based polymer which
holds the key to producing plastics through natural and renewable
"The polyesters and other polymers we use everyday are mostly
derived from fossil oils made through the refinery or chemical
process," said Lee. "The idea of producing polymers from renewable
biomass has attracted much attention due to the increasing concerns of
environmental problems and the limited nature of fossil resources. PLA
is considered a good alternative to petroleum based plastics as it is
both biodegradable and has a low toxicity to humans."
Until now PLA has been produced in a two-step fermentation and
chemical process of polymerization, which is both complex and
expensive. Now, through the use of a metabolically engineered strain of
E.coli, the team has developed a one-stage process which
produces polylactic acid and its copolymers through direct
fermentation. This makes the renewable production of PLA and
lactate-containing copolymers cheaper and more commercially viable.
"By developing a strategy which combines metabolic engineering and
enzyme engineering, we've developed an efficient bio-based one-step
production process for PLA and its copolymers," said Lee. "This means
that a developed E. coli strain is now capable of efficiently producing unnatural polymers, through a one-step fermentation process,"
This combined approach of systems-level metabolic engineering and
enzyme engineering now allows for the production of polymer and
polyester based products through direct microbial fermentation of
"Global warming and other environmental problems are urging us to
develop sustainable processes based on renewable resources," concluded
Lee. "This new strategy should be generally useful for developing other
engineered organisms capable of producing various unnatural polymers by
direct fermentation from renewable resources".
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