Tailored biopolymer production from waste streams: low-cost value added bioprocessing

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Sch of Biosciences


The production of biodegradable plastics such as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) from sustainable feedstocks is becoming increasingly relevant as crude oil supplies are depleting and synthetic plastic pollution is increasing. However, in order to render the production of PHAs environmentally viable methods must be developed to reduce its brittleness and replace the use of organic and halogenated solvents. The current project aims to improve the properties of biologically produced PHA using a combination of genetic and metabolic engineering. In addition, the project aims to conduct research into the utilisation and optimisation of waste glycerol from the biodiesel industry as a cost effective feedstock. A third aspect of the project will investigate safer and more cost effective alternatives to conventional PHA extraction which utilities solvents such as chloroform.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M01116X/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1790992 Studentship BB/M01116X/1 03/10/2016 25/05/2021 John Nicholas Rolley
Title Time Course Flow Cytometry Code 
Description Using the coding that I learnt during the Computer Programming taught module, I have produced a script in R Studio which allows for the rapid data analysis of flow cytometry data when samples are run for a continuous period. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This development has reduced the time to analyse millions of data points from 2-3 days using Microsoft Excel to just a few seconds in R Studio. Currently this has not impacted my research although we are exploring possibilities for it to be used. This development has impacted the studies of a fellow PhD student who works with Colgate by greatly reducing data analysis and eliminating the need for high levels of computer memory needed to prevent Microsoft Excel from crashing.