Metabolix, Inc., Cambridge, Mass., has just completed a field trial of growing
tobacco that was genetically engineered to produce polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA)
biopolymers. The trial was performed on 0.8 acres and yielded tobacco plants
containing up to 3% to 5% of PHA. This trial lays the groundwork for future trials
of growing PHA in bioengineered, nonfood oilseed and biomass crops such as
switchgrass and sugarcane.
Metabolix previously developed genetically engineered bacteria that produce
PHA inside their cell walls by fermenting cornstarch. This method is used to produce
Mirel bioplastic for Telles in Lowell, Mass., a joint venture of Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland.
(617) 492-0505 • metabolix.com
(978) 513-1865 • mirelplastics.com