Poly(3-hydroxyalkanoates) (PHAs) constitute a large and versatile family of polyesters produced by various bacteria. PHAs are receiving considerable attention because of their potential as renewable and biodegradable plastics, and as a source of chiral synthons since the monomers are chiral. Industrial PHA production processes have been developed for poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (poly(3HB)) and poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-valerate) (poly(3HB-co-3HV). More than 100 other poly(3HAmcl)s, characterized by monomers of medium chain length, have been identified in the past two decades. These monomers typically contain 6¿14 carbon atoms, are usually linked via 3-hydroxy ester linkages, but can occasionally also exhibit 2-, 4-, 5-, or 6-hydroxy ester linkages. Such polyesters are collectively referred to as medium chain length PHAs poly(3HAmcl)s.
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