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Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2001 Dec 3;53(1):5-21.

Occurrence, synthesis and medical application of bacterial polyhydroxyalkanoate.

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Department of Microbiology, Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (EAWAG), Ueberlandstrasse 133, P.O. Box 611, CH-8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland.


Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) comprise a large class of polyesters that are synthesized by many bacteria as an intracellular carbon and energy compound. Analysis of isolated PHAs reveal interesting properties such as biodegradability and biocompatibility. Research was focused only recently on the application of PHA in implants, scaffolds in tissue engineering, or as drug carriers. Such applications require that PHA be produced at a constant and reproducible quality. To date this can be achieved best through bacterial production in continuous culture where growth conditions are kept constant (chemostat). Recently, it was found that PHA producing bacteria are able to grow simultaneously limited by carbon and nitrogen substrates. Thus, it became possible to produce PHA at high yields on toxic substrate and also control its composition accurately (tailor-made synthesis). Finally, applications of PHA in medicine are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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