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Bioresin manufacturer Metabolix Inc. (Cambridge, MA) has genetically engineered tobacco to produce polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) as it works to create non-food sources for biobased polymers. Under a permit from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to perform an open-air field trial in March of 2009, Metabolix completed field-trial experiments in early October. The trial was undertaken on 0.8 acres of land, with the best plants producing 3-5% PHA.

PlasticsToday Staff

October 22, 2009

2 Min Read
Updated: Metabolix experiments with tobacco plants for PHA production

(Cambridge, MA) has genetically engineered tobacco to produce polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) as it works to create non-food sources for biobased polymers. Under a permit from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to perform an open-air field trial in March of 2009, Metabolix completed field-trial experiments in early October. The trial was undertaken on 0.8 acres of land, with the best plants producing 3-5% PHA. Metabolix said that the trial provided valuable data and information relating to polymer production, adding that the research “furthers development of Metabolix crop technologies for the co-production of biobased plastics in non-food bioenergy crops.”

In a release, Oliver Peoples, chief scientific officer of Metabolix said, “We believe that our crop programs offer a number of commercialization options and hold significant potential,” citing non-food oilseed and biomass crops. Metabolix, which is continuing to develop and commercialize its Mirel family of bioplastics, is also developing a platform technology for co-producing plastics, chemicals, and energy from crops such as switchgrass, oilseeds, and sugarcane.

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