Metabolic engineering of Arabidopsis and Brassica for poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) copolymer production

Nat Biotechnol. 1999 Oct;17(10):1011-6. doi: 10.1038/13711.


Poly(hydroxyalkanoates) are natural polymers with thermoplastic properties. One polymer of this class with commercial applicability, poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) can be produced by bacterial fermentation, but the process is not economically competitive with polymer production from petrochemicals. Poly(hydroxyalkanoate) production in green plants promises much lower costs, but producing copolymer with the appropriate monomer composition is problematic. In this study, we have engineered Arabidopsis and Brassica to produce PHBV in leaves and seeds, respectively, by redirecting the metabolic flow of intermediates from fatty acid and amino acid biosynthesis. We present a pathway for the biosynthesis of PHBV in plant plastids, and also report copolymer production, metabolic intermediate analyses, and pathway dynamics.

MeSH terms

  • Acyl Coenzyme A / biosynthesis
  • Amination
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Brassica / metabolism*
  • Butyrates / metabolism
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Polyesters / metabolism*


  • Acyl Coenzyme A
  • Butyrates
  • Polyesters
  • poly(3-hydroxybutyrate)-co-(3-hydroxyvalerate)
  • propionyl-coenzyme A
  • alpha-ketobutyric acid