Bacterial and other biological systems for polyester production

Trends Biotechnol. 1998 Oct;16(10):419-27. doi: 10.1016/s0167-7799(98)01194-9.


Poly(3-hydroxybutyric acid) and other structurally related aliphatic polyesters from bacteria, referred to as polyhydroxyalkanoic acids, form biodegradable thermoplastics and elastomers that are currently in use, or being considered for use, in industry, medicine, pharmacy and agriculture. At present, they are produced by microbial fermentations; in the future, production will also be possible by in vitro methods or by agriculture using transgenic plants. Representatives from this highly diverse class of polyesters might be produced as commodity chemicals for bulk applications, and others as fine chemicals for special applications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Archaea / metabolism
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Biotechnology / methods*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / metabolism
  • Fermentation
  • Hydroxybutyrates / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • Polyesters / metabolism*
  • Prokaryotic Cells / metabolism


  • Hydroxybutyrates
  • Polyesters
  • poly-beta-hydroxybutyrate