Metabolix demonstrates PHB production in GM tobacco
US industrial biotechnology company Metabolix (Cambridge, Massachusetts) has developed genetically modified tobacco capable of producing high levels of biodegradable, polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) bioplastic, polyhydroxybutryrate (PHB). PHAs are used by many bacteria and algae species as carbon storage materials. They are used for the production of a broad range of industrial applications as performance, biodegradable bioplastics and as renewable starting materials for the production of specialty and commodity chemicals. The sequestration of transgenically expressed plant biomass as an inert granular material makes it possible to produce large amounts of a readily convertible polymeric chemical precursor in a biological system in which production of the chemical itself might be toxic to the host.