Antarctica bacteria found useful for plastic production

23 November 2010 21:49  [Source: ICIS news]

BUENOS AIRES (ICIS)-- A bacteria found in Antarctica may be useful in polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) production, an investigator from Buenos Aires University (UBA) said on Tuesday.

PHB is a polymer used to manufacture biodegradable plastic.

The bacteria is called Pseudomonas extremaustralis, and it can resist below freezing temperatures, ultraviolet light and, through the production of PHB, a lack of nutrients.

Pseudomonas extremaustralis produces about 80% of its dry weight from PHB. The average production for the pseudomonas species is 40%. 

Scientists from the exact sciences faculty of UBA will extract the genes responsible for PHB production and insert them in the Escherichia coli bacteria, which is easier to harvest.

The biochemistry department of UBA published a paper about this discovery in Current Microbiology magazine. Argentina has had a permanent base in Antartica since 1904.

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By: Cristina Kroll
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