Biochemical, mechanical, and spectroscopic analyses of genetically engineered flax fibers producing bioplastic (poly-β-hydroxybutyrate)

Authors

  • Magdalena Wróbel-Kwiatkowska,

    1. Faculty of Biotechnology, University of Wrocław, Przybyszewskiego 63/77, 51-148, Wroclaw, Poland
    2. Laboratory of Polymers, Institute of Mechanical Engineering and Automation, Wrocław University of Technology, Wyb. Wyspiańskiego 27, 50-370 Wrocław, Poland
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  • Katarzyna Skórkowska-Telichowska,

    1. Dept. of Endocrinology, Fourth Military Hospital, Weigla 5, 53-114 Wrocław, Poland
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  • Lucyna Dymińska,

    1. Faculty of Economics and Engineering, Dept. of Biochemistry, Institute of Chemistry and Food Technology, University of Economics, Komandorska 118/120, 50-345 Wrocław, Poland
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  • Mirosław Mączka,

    1. Institute of Low Temperatures and Structure Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, Okolna 2, 50-422 Wrocław, Poland
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  • Jerzy Hanuza,

    1. Faculty of Economics and Engineering, Dept. of Biochemistry, Institute of Chemistry and Food Technology, University of Economics, Komandorska 118/120, 50-345 Wrocław, Poland
    2. Institute of Low Temperatures and Structure Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, Okolna 2, 50-422 Wrocław, Poland
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  • Jan Szopa

    Corresponding author
    1. Faculty of Biotechnology, University of Wrocław, Przybyszewskiego 63/77, 51-148, Wroclaw, Poland
    • Faculty of Biotechnology, University of Wrocław, Przybyszewskiego 63/77, 51-148, Wroclaw, Poland
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Abstract

The interest in biofibers has grown in recent years due to their expanding range of applications in fields as diverse as biomedical science and the automotive industry. Their low production costs, biodegradability, physical properties, and perceived eco-friendliness allow for their extensive use as composite components, a role in which they could replace petroleum-based synthetic polymers. We performed biochemical, mechanical, and structural analyses of flax stems and fibers derived from field-grown transgenic flax enriched with PHB (poly-β-hydroxybutyrate). The analyses of the plant stems revealed an increase in the cellulose content and a decrease in the lignin and pectin contents relative to the control plants. However, the contents of the fibers' major components (cellulose, lignin, pectin) remain unchanged. An FT-IR study confirmed the results of the biochemical analyses of the flax fibers. However, the arrangement of the cellulose polymer in the transgenic fibers differed from that in the control, and a significant increase in the number of hydrogen bonds was detected. The mechanical properties of the transgenic flax stems were significantly improved, reflecting the cellulose content increase. However, the mechanical properties of the fibers did not change in comparison with the control, with the exception of the fibers from transgenic line M13. The generated transgenic flax plants, which produce both components of the flax/PHB composites (i.e., fibers and thermoplastic matrix in the same plant organ) are a source of an attractive and ecologically safe material for industry and medicine. © 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2009

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