Technological watch

Production of Polyhydroxyalkanoates for Biodegradable Food Packaging Applications Using Haloferax mediterranei and Agrifood Wastes

Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are high-value biodegradable polyesters with thermoplastic properties used in the manufacturing of different products such as packaging films. PHAs have gained much attention from researchers and industry because of their biobased nature and appropriate features, similar to conventional synthetic plastics. This review aims to discuss some of the recent solutions to challenges associated with PHA production. The implementation of a cost-effective process is presented by following different strategies, such as the use of inexpensive carbon sources, the selection of high-producing microorganisms, and the functionalization of the final materials to make them suitable for food packaging applications, among others. Research efforts are needed to improve the economic viability of PHA production at a large scale. Haloferax mediterranei is a promising producer of PHAs due to its ability to grow in non-sterile conditions and the possibility of using seawater to prepare the growth medium. Additionally, downstream processing for PHA extraction can be simplified by treating the H. mediterranei cells with pure water. Further research should focus on the optimization of the recycling conditions for the effluents and on the economic viability of the side streams reutilization and desalinization as an integrated part of PHA biotechnological production.

Publication date: 20/03/2024

Author: Atarés

Reference: doi: 10.3390/foods13060950

MDPI (foods)


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.