Japan-US joint development of biodegradable polymer PHBH

Japan's Chung-Cheong Chemical Industry Corporation has signed an agreement with P&G of the United States on the joint development of the biodegradable polymer PHBH (copolyester of 3-hydroxybutyric acid and 3-hydroxyacetic acid). The two companies will integrate their advantages and technical experience in the production and processing of PHBH and realize the industrial production of this copolymer by the end of this year or early 2006.

It is reported that the preparation of PHBH is achieved through the aggregation of the polymer inside the microorganism, using culture techniques and further refining. Under aerobic or anaerobic conditions, this material can be decomposed in a short time and eventually become carbon dioxide and water. It can also break down in water, and it can break down when it gathers in the river bed.

In addition, the higher the composition of the 3-hydroxyacetic acid comonomer, the more flexible the copolymer will be. Therefore, controlling the proportion of copolymerization makes it possible to produce various types of products from rigid to flexible. The copolymer can be processed into fibers, films and injection molded products. It can also be used in health foods, packaging materials and other fields.

Source: International Plastics Industry Network

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