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TITLE Developmemt of the production process of the completely biodegradable microbial polymer
(Joint Program to Promote Technological Development with the Private Sectors)

qhsd|NIIGATA LABORATORY in Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co.


Biodegradable polymers are much sought after as component materials for biodegrable plastics which can be used in harmony with the global biosphere, and are now being studied by many researchers belonging to both academia and business. However, polymers satisfying the requirements of complete biodegrability, suitable material properties and acceptable cost have not been developed until now.

Poly-3-hydroxy butyric acid (PHB) bio-polymer is superior from the stand points of biodegrability, heat-resistance and elasticity, and is useful as either a component material or a property enhancing additive for biodegradable plastics.

This project aims at developing industrial processes for the production of the bio-polymer "BIOGREEN" consisting of high quality PHB produced using methanol which is synthesized from natural gas (CH4), a fossil fuel, but additionally from exhaust gases (CO2) and hydrogen (H2). The production process for "BIOGREEN" consists of a continuous culture technique in which cells containing a large amount of PHB are grown using special methanol-utilizing bacteria which produce PHB simultaneous with cell growth, and a separate/purification technique to recover high quality PHB from the cells.

This bio-polymer "BIOGREEN" is useful as a component material for biodegradable plastics which decompose into CO2 and H2O by the activity of microorganisms in nature and the use of which will grow in harmony with the global biosphere.