Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-4-hydroxybutyrate) [P(3HB-co-4HB)] copolymer is noted for its high biocompatibility, which makes it an excellent candidate for biopharmaceutical applications. The wild-type Cupriavidus sp. USMAA1020 strain is able to synthesize P(3HB-co-4HB) copolymers with different 4HB monomer compositions (up to 70mol%) in shaken flask cultures. Combinations of 4HB carbon precursors consisting of 1,6-hexanediol and γ-butyrolactone were applied for the production of P(3HB-co-4HB) with different 4HB molar fraction. A sharp increase in 4HB monomer composition was attained by introducing additional copies of PHA synthase gene (phaC), responsible for P(3HB-co-4HB) polymerization. The phaC of Cupriavidus sp. USMAA1020 and Cupriavidus sp. USMAA2-4 were cloned and heterologously introduced into host, wild-type Cupriavidus sp. USMAA1020. The gene dosage treatment resulted in the accumulation of 93mol% 4HB by the transformant strains when grown in similar conditions as the wild-type USMAA1020. The PHA synthase activities for both transformants were almost two-fold higher than the wild-type. The ability of the transformants to produce copolymers with high 4HB monomer composition was also tested in large scale production system using 5L and 30L bioreactors with a constant oxygen mass transfer rate. The 4HB monomer composition could be maintained at a range of 83-89mol%. The mechanical and thermal properties of copolymers improved with increasing 4HB monomer composition. The copolymers produced could be tailored for specific biopharmaceutical applications based on their properties.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.