Burkholderia sp. synthase has been shown to polymerize 3-hydroxybutyrate (3HB), 3-hydroxyvalerate, and 3-hydroxy-4-pentenoic acid monomers. This study was carried out to evaluate the ability of Burkholderia sp. USM (JCM 15050) and its transformant harboring the polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) synthase gene of Aeromonas caviae to incorporate the newly reported 3-hydroxy-4-methylvalerate (3H4MV) monomer. Various culture parameters such as concentrations of nutrient rich medium, fructose and 4-methylvaleric acid as well as harvesting time were manipulated to produce P(3HB-co-3H4MV) with different 3H4MV compositions. The structural properties of PHA containing 3H4MV monomer were investigated by using nuclear magnetic resonance and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The relative intensities of the bands at 1,183 and 1,228 cm⁻¹ in the FTIR spectra enabled the rapid detection and differentiation of P(3HB-co-3H4MV) from other types of PHA. In addition, the presence of 3H4MV units in the copolymer was found to considerably lower the melting temperature and enthalpy of fusion values compared with poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (P(3HB)). The copolymer exhibited higher thermo-degradation temperature but similar molecular weight and polydispersity compared with P(3HB).
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