Maurice Lemoigne a French microbiologist discovers that PHB can be produced by feeding bacteria on a nutrient rich diet, and then removing the available glucose to which they respond by making PHB.
1930 - 1940
Polylactic acid is discovered by Wallace Caruthers
Rediscovery of PHB
The biopolymer PHB is rediscovered in 1957 in the UK and the U.S.A, 32 years after being first discovered.
Biosynthesis of PHB
1960 - 1970
Chemists came to understand that PHB could be produced from bacteria when exposed to conditions were limited energy sources were available for the bacteria.
Research into the properties of PHB
1970 - 1980
A research program is conducted by the ICI discovering that the crystallinity, molecular weight, melting points and tensile strength of PHB are very similar to polypropylene.
PHB production in E.coli
As a result of genetic technology the genes responsible for PHB synthesis in Alcaligenes Eutrophus bacteria are cloned and transferred into E.coli bacteria which reproduced quickly and had an easily manipulated physiology.
Mass production of PHB
2 tons of PHB is produced in a trial as a result of a growing need for environmentally friendly plastics.