Centre for Advanced Materials Processing
and Manufacturing

Seminar: Polyhydroxyalkanoate copolymers from waste and C1 carbon sources

AMPAM Seminar Series

Event Details

Date: Tuesday, 12 August 2014
Venue: 49-502 Advanced Engineering Building
Speaker: Bronwyn Laycock
Event Description: 
Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) bioplastics are outstanding candidates to replace conventional plastics in many applications. Their mechanical properties are good, they are produced from renewable resources, and they are genuinely biodegradable. However, despite offering significant potential for many years, they are still not making a significant impact, largely because commercial uptake has been limited by variable performance and high production (raw material) costs. PHA can be produced more cheaply through the use of low-value carbon-rich raw materials such as effluents from industrial and municipal activities. Mixed culture PHA production also does not require sterilization of equipment and feedstocks. Our team has focussed on engineering PHA copolymers from cheap feedstocks with tailored and industrially relevant properties. Through the analysis and manipulation of the full process train - from bacterial community composition to carbon feeding strategies and downstream processing – we have worked to control the architecture of the polymers intracellularly and to deliver polymers with industrially relevant materials properties and improved thermal stability. Block copolymers, PHA-PHA blends and random copolymers of controlled comonomer composition have been produced and their material properties assessed. Future research will focus on the production of PHA copolymers from C1 carbon sources and the production of cost-effective PHA-wood composites.

Event Attachments

Contact: Brianne Mackinnon
Email: b.mackinnon@uq.edu.au