Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Department of


First Advisor

Cheryl Immuthen

Second Advisor

Rajib Saha

Date of this Version

Spring 4-14-2020


Brown, B, Gilley, C, & Hoppner, D. (2020, April). Inducing Increased Bioplastic Production in R. palustris CGA009. Poster presentation, UCARE Research Fair, Spring 2020, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright 2020 by the authors.


PHA’s (polyhydroxyalkanoates) are important bio polymers in different industries such as petroleum, medicine, and nano technology. In the microorganisms in which they are produced, they serve as an energy storage material by storing both carbon and usable electrons. This is useful in environments where the organisms are nutrient starved. PHA’s have a practical use especially in the medical field as bio-plastics because they are biodegradable and bio-compatible. Rhodopseudomonas. palustris, a common soil bacterium, is notable for its uncommon metabolic flexibility. Its diverse metabolism means that it can fix CO 2 and grow on many lignin based monomers in both aerobic and anaerobic environments. Currently, R. palustris already produces PHB (polyhydroxybutyrate), but there are other PHA’s and co polymers that have superior processing characteristics and applications. Our research will investigate the effect of the PHA production genes from Paraburkholderia sacchari DSM 17165 and Cupriavidus necator DSM 545 when introduced into R. palustris and potentially R. palustris strains with their native PHA production genes knocked out Both P. sacchari and C. necator produce higher titers of PHA’s as well as co polymers with improved processing characteristics and more applications than R. palustris ’ current PHB production. Our research will work to combine the metabolic flexibility of R. palustris with the higher PHA and co polymer production of P sacchari and C. necator by introducing genes for PhaA, PhaB, and PhaC production into R. palustris.