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Copolymerization of Bacterial Cell Wall Materials to Enhance Stability of Polyhydroxyalkanoate

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Abstract

This brief investigation reports copolymerizing polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) with a durable bacterial cell wall component, peptidoglycan (PTG). PHAs are biodegradable polymers produced by some bacteria, but the environmental advantage is offset by the time, energy, and solvent use to separation PHAs from cell residues, including PTG. Here, a PHA was copolymerized with PTG (10, 25 wt%). Thermal stability and moisture uptake of the resulting polyesteramide showed copolymers absorbed up to 60% more moisture than the PHA but at 25 wt% peptidoglycan the onset of decomposition increased by nearly 125 °C. Less PTG in PHA gave lesser increases. The results suggest that useful materials might be produced with less rigorous purification strategies for bacterially produced PHAs.

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