Synthesis of high-molecular-weight poly([R]-(-)-3-hydroxybutyrate) in transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana plant cells

Int J Biol Macromol. 1995 Feb;17(1):7-12. doi: 10.1016/0141-8130(95)93511-u.


High-molecular-weight poly([R]-(-)-3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB), a biodegradable thermoplastic, was produced from a suspension culture of transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana plant cells expressing two genes from the bacterium Alcaligenes eutrophus involved in the synthesis of PHB. The molecular structure of the plant-produced polymer was analysed by gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, infra-red spectroscopy, spectropolarimetry, differential scanning calorimetry, X-ray diffraction and size exclusion chromatography. The results indicate that the polymer from transgenic plants appears to have a chemical structure identical to that of PHB produced by bacteria. However, the molecular weight distribution of the plant-produced PHB was much broader than that of typical bacterial PHB.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alcaligenes / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Hydroxybutyrates / chemistry
  • Hydroxybutyrates / metabolism*
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Structure
  • Molecular Weight
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Polyesters / chemistry
  • Polyesters / metabolism*
  • X-Ray Diffraction


  • Hydroxybutyrates
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Polyesters
  • poly-beta-hydroxybutyrate