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This book on “Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs)-based Blends, Composites and Nanocomposites” summarizes many of the recent research accomplishments in the area of polyhydroxyalkanoates such as state-of-the-art polyhydroxyalkanoates, their blends, composites and nanocomposites, the state of the art, new challenges, opportunities for polyhydroxyalkanoates and their structure, properties and sources, recovery of polyhydroxyalkanoates, blends of polyhydroxyalkanoates, nanocomposites of polyhydroxyalkanoates, polyhydroxyalkanoates-based multiphase materials, modification of polyhydroxyalkanoates, polyhydroxyalkanoates as packaging materials, current applications and future prospects of polyhydroxyalkanoates. As the title indicates, the book emphasizes the various aspects of polyhydroxyalkanoates and their blends, composites and nanocomposites. This book is intended to serve as a “one stop” reference resource for important research accomplishments in this area. This book will be a very valuable reference source for university and college faculties, professionals, post-doctoral research fellows, senior graduate students, researchers from R&D laboratories working in the area of polyhydroxyalkanoates and their blends, composites and nanocomposites. The various chapters in this book are contributed by prominent researchers from industry, academia and government/private research laboratories across the globe. It covers an up-to-date record of the major findings and observations in the field of polyhydroxyalkanoates and their blends, composites and nanocomposites.

The first chapter on polyhydroxyalkanoates and their blends, composites and nanocomposites covers the state of the art, new challenges, and opportunities for polyhydroxyalkanoates based studies and research. The second chapter provides an overview of polyhydroxyalkanoates: their structure, properties and sources. The third chapter concentrates mainly on the recovery of polyhydroxyalkanoates. The chapter's authors discuss the different recovery methods, such as chemical methods, biological methods, mechanical methods, physical methods, combined methods and others. The authors also discuss the characterization of recovered polyhydroxyalkanoates. They also discuss the following sub-topics: solvent extraction, chemical digestion, enzymatic digestion, bead mill, ultrasonication, osmotic shockfreezing.

A survey on polyhydroxyalkanoate blends is presented in the fourth chapter; the authors describe the production, characterisation and applications of polyhydroxyalkanoate blends. Different types of blends, such as PHAs/PLA blends PHAs/PCL blends, PHAs/cellulose derivatives, PHAs/starch derivatives and PHAs/chitosan, are discussed. The fifth chapter discusses the nanocomposites of polyhydroxyalkanoates, including the preparation, characterisation and applications of different types of polyhydroxyalkanoates-based nanocomposites. The preparation methods discussed include solution intercalation, melt intercalation and in situ intercalative polymerization. The sixth chapter deals with polyhydroxyalkanoates-based multiphase materials. The chapter explains many properties such as renewability, sustainable development, biodegradability, compostability, classification, chemical structures and the crystalline structures of polyhydroxyalkanoates. The authors explain other interesting topics such as PHA-based multiphase materials, generalities, plasticization, nucleating agents, PHA-based blends, PHA-based multilayers, PHA-based biocomposites, PHA-based nano-biocomposites, production and some applications, the industrial production of PHA-based materials and PHA-based materials for biomedical applications.

The seventh chapter discusses the modification of polyhydroxyalkanoates. From this chapter, we can see different kinds of modification methods such as chemical modification, physical modification and modification with enzymes.

The section on the chemical modification of PHAs is divided into different topics such as carboxylation, hydroxylation, epoxidation, halogenations and graft copolymerization. The section on the physical modification of PHAs is divided into different topics such as PHA blending and coating, PHA irradiation, ion implantation, plasma treatment, electrospinning. To conclude, the authors discuss the modification of PHAs with enzymes.

Polyhydroxyalkanoates as packaging materials, current applications and future prospects are discussed in the eighth chapter. In this chapter, the authors discuss different topics such as the need for sustainable packaging materials, biodegradable plastics, factors affecting PHA production, properties of PHAs for packaging, PHAs for food and industrial packaging and PHAs for medical packaging.

The ninth chapter is on the packaging applications of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs). The authors discuss many topics such as polyhydroxyalkanoates, fundamental bioprocess steps for obtaining PHAs, degradation PHA uses in food packaging, methods for obtaining plastic products and examples of applications of bioplastics in food packaging etc.

Finally, the editors would like to express their sincere gratitude to all the contributors to this book, who provided excellent support to the successful completion of this venture. We are grateful to them for the commitment and the sincerity they have shown towards their contribution in the book. Without their enthusiasm and support, the compilation of a book would not have been possible. We would like to thank all the reviewers who have given their valuable time to make critical comments on each chapter. We also thank the publisher—the Royal Society of Chemistry—for recognizing the demand for such a book, and for realizing the increasing importance of the area of “Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs)-based Blends, Composites and Nanocomposites” and for starting this new project.

Ipsita Roy

Visakh P.M.

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