Polyesters From Microorganisms

Adv Biochem Eng Biotechnol. 2001;71:51-79. doi: 10.1007/3-540-40021-4_2.


Bacterial polyesters have been found to have useful properties for applications as thermoplastics, elastomers, and adhesives and are biodegradable and biocompatible. Poly(3-hydroxyalkanoates) (PHAs) and poly(beta-malate) are the most representative polyesters synthesized by microorganisms. PHAs containing a wide variety of repeating units can be produced by bacteria, including those containing many types of pendant functional groups which can be synthesized by microorganisms that are grown on unnatural organic substrates. Poly(beta-malate) is of interest primarily for medical applications, especially for drug delivery systems. In this chapter, the bacterial production and properties of poly(3-hydroxyalkanoates) and poly(beta-malate) are described with emphasis on the former.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acyltransferases / chemistry
  • Bacteria / chemistry
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Malates / chemistry
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Chemical
  • Polyesters / chemistry*
  • Polyesters / metabolism*
  • Polymers / chemistry


  • Malates
  • Polyesters
  • Polymers
  • poly(malate)
  • Acyltransferases
  • poly(3-hydroxyalkanoic acid) synthase