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ERIC Number: EJ838174
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 24
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Bacterial Production of Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate): An Undergraduate Student Laboratory Experiment
Burns, Kristi L.; Oldham, Charlie D.; May, Sheldon W.
Journal of Chemical Education, v86 n5 p603-605 May 2009
As part of a multidisciplinary course that is cross-listed between five departments, we developed an undergraduate student laboratory experiment for culturing, isolating, and purifying the biopolymer, poly(3-hydroxybutyrate), PHB. This biopolyester accumulates in the cytoplasm of bacterial cells under specific growth conditions, and it has attracted much recent interest since its biodegradability makes it environmentally friendly and its biocompatibility makes it an attractive choice for medical and therapeutic applications. This laboratory experiment would be a valuable addition to any traditional chemistry or polymer science curriculum, since it exposes the student to the field of biotechnology and teaches biological methodologies that are different from traditional methods of polymer synthesis. The experiment is designed so that the students perform the PHB cultivation and extraction processes in three stages that are easily accommodated within the scheduling confines of a typical undergraduate laboratory course. Moreover, the bacterially produced PHB can then be used by students in subsequent exercises for comparison with polymers produced using chemical synthesis. In addition to chemistry and polymer science curricula, this laboratory experiment would also be suitable for a variety of biology, biochemistry, or biotechnology curricula. (Contains 4 notes.)
Division of Chemical Education of the American Chemical Society. Subscription Department, P.O. Box 1267, Bellmawr, NJ 08099-1267. Tel: 800-691-9846; Tel: 856-931-5825; Fax: 856-931-4115; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A