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Use available evidence to gather and present data from secondary sources and analyse progress in the development and use of a named biopolymer.

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Biopolymers "Use available evidence to gather and present data from secondary sources and analyse progress in the development and use of a named biopolymer. This analysis should name the specific enzyme(s) used or organism used to synthesise the material and an evaluation of the use or potential use of the polymer produced related to its properties." 1. Introduction a) Polymers A polymer is a generic term used to describe a substantially long molecule. This long molecule consists of structural units and repeating units strung together through chemical bonds. The process of converting these units to a polymer is called polymerization. These units are called monomers, which are typically small molecules of low molecular weight.1 Over 99% of all plastics are made from non-renewable natural resources, which are finite, for example, oil, coal or natural gas.3 Waste management is a major problem for plastics because they produce large amounts of waste, which can be bad for the environment. ...read more.


An increased need fore Biopolymers The use of common biopolymers such as Cotton, Rayon, cellophane (all cellulose), wool and silk have been declining due to the increased use of non-renewable, petroleum based polymers such as polyester and nylon.5 These petroleum-based products are economic to produce, however are bad for the environment because they are not biodegradable. This means the environement cannot naturally decompose them. The discarding of plastic bags, plastic bottles and nylon fabric causes major pollution problems, which can damage bird and marine life and are an eyesore in landscapes. This is because they take decades and decades to degrade, some of which do not degrade. In Australia, the development of a bio-plastics industry has the potential to benefit the environment and agriculture in Australian by creating new markets for crops and greater competition for farmers.3 As we enter a new age of high priorities for renewable energy and management of waste, there is a major interest in biopolymers and the efficiency with which they can be produced. ...read more.


Recent developments The productions of PHAs have been increased by researches on large scale production to produce biodegradable plastics which can be globally commercialised. Production costs of PHAs are to expensive compared to the cost to produce synthetic plastics. This is because the bacterial fermentation isn't economically feasible. This is why scientists have redirected their research to producing PHB in plants. Plants have the ability to produce high quality commercial products in large amounts at a low cost, making them attractive candidates for PHB production.8 c) Evaluation of properties and uses The biodegradability of PHBs is 100%, which means it is environmentally friendly. PHB is degraded to carbon dioxide and water by fungi and bacteria through its secreting enzymes. The poor physical properties of PHB e.g. stiff, brittle and hard to process make it unfavourable for commercial use. PHAs will require further research before its commercial production will replace synthetic plastics. ...read more.

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