Two students presented an undergraduate research poster at the American Chemical Society Spring National Meeting in San Francisco, April 2-6, 2016.
The students, Isaac Alanis and Mariela Mendoza, attended the conference, along with Ken Cheung, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry. Cheung received National Science Foundation funding to pay for the conference attendance.
The poster title is: Biosynthesis of Polyhydroxyalkanoate with Pseudomonas Putida
With the development of green technology to produce alternative resources, polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) is a biodegradable plastic that is synthesized by renewable sources such as vegetable oil. PHA has a high degree of polymerization which means that the plastic could be synthesized with various forms of flexibility and be moldable. With its high versatility, PHA can be potentially be used to produce materials for storage to highly elastic plastic for adhesives. In addition, PHA can be used to produce biofuel, which is a clean renewable source of fuel that serves as an alternative source of fossil fuel.
From the Abstract: "Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) is a natural polyester synthesized by Pseudomonas putida as intracellular granules for energy storage. Soybean-based vegetable oil or dextrose was used as the carbon source, and cultures were prepared in shake flasks for five days before centrifugation and extraction with hot chloroform for three hours. The majority of the chloroform was removed by distillation, and then PHA was precipitated out by mixing with methanol."