Bioplastic from Sustainable Feedstock - Tackling the Plastic Challenge


   Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering

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  Dr Kang Lan Tee  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) is a class of polyesters produced by various Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria as carbon and energy storage reserves. First extracted and characterised in 1925, early research focused on the biochemistry of how and why these bioplastics were produced in Nature. The appeal of PHA to the industry began in the 1980s, but strong interest in the last decade has accelerated its scientific and technological development. PHA is attractive because it can be produced from renewable resources, are biodegradable and biocompatible, making them good alternatives to fossil-based plastics in diverse applications.

A switch from fossil-based plastic to PHA-based packaging is one of the few solutions to our plastic pollution problem. This is because PHA is biodegradable in both soil and marine environment. They can also be depolymerized and upcycled into other chemicals. Despite its potential, the types of PHA we can produced and the economics of PHA production remain major challenges to date, especially when used as low-cost packaging material. This project will address these challenges by engineering PHA copolymers with novel properties, producing it from sustainable feedstock, and developing these PHAs into sustainable packaging materials.

This project is in the important and quickly developing field of bioplastics. Successful candidate will receive training in synthetic biology, molecular biology, and strain engineering. He/she will join the multi-disciplinary research environment in The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and benefit from the Doctoral Development Programme designed to develop specialist and transferable skills. 

Please see this link for information on how to apply: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/cbe/postgraduate/phd/how-apply. Please include the name of your proposed supervisor and the title of the PhD project within your application.

Applicants should have a first class or upper second class honours degree in chemical engineering, biochemical engineering, biotechnology, molecular biology or related disciplines.

Biological Sciences (4) Engineering (12)

Where will I study?

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 About the Project