Polyhydroxyalkanoates in Biomedicine

The main properties of PHAs make them a great candidate for biomedicine applications – PHAs are fully biodegradable, biocompatible and non-toxic.

  • PHAs are not toxic to skin.1, 2
  • PHAs are not toxic when administered orally or intravenously.3
  • PHAs can be used as implants.1, 4
  • Product of P3HB degradation is not toxic – it is a common part of human metabolism.
  • PHAs cause no irritation, inflammation or allergic reaction.

PHAs are tested as drug carriers – in dental medicine, for targeted application of active agents, and for drugs with slow or controlled release.

PHAs might help fight with antibiotic resistance problem.1, 7

PHAs are a promising material for tissue engineering – for joint implants, medical devices and tissue reconstruction.6

Tissue engineering

Tissue engineering seeks for materials and ways how to shape it to build the most favorable environment for cell cultures. This scaffold for cell proliferation must be biocompatible and supportive for growth, migration, and differentiation of cells. Optionally biodegradability of the scaffold is required.

Tissue engineering uses both 2D structures (films) and 3D structures like foams, sponges, hydrogels or nanofibers. Biopolymers like PHAs are suitable for nanofiber production by electrospinning. Nanofibers well mimic extracellular matrix.

Wound dressings

We are developing sustainable and safe nanofibrous wound dressings based on Hydal PHA. Wound dressings are needed whenever the skin is injured – from acute traumas like burns, chirurgic wounds to chronic wounds and ulcers. By electrospinning process, we can form PHAs nanofibers – biocompatible and biodegradable scaffold for skin regeneration.

I Want to Know More About

PHAs-based wound dressings fight plastic pollution

New materials bring benefits not only to people, but also to the whole nature. Wound dressings are highly specific products, which cannot be reused or recycled. Thus, bio-based and biodegradable polymers are the most suitable materials for these single-use products considering the environmental footprint.

Millions of people with chronic or acute skin wounds need high-quality health care, however billions of people and much more plants and animals need healthy planet – clean drinking water, low atmospheric CO2 levels, stable climate, fertile soil…

Antibiotic resistance – black cloud above western medicine

Infections that accompany chronic wounds are treated by antibiotics. However, long-term application of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance development and incurable infection. It becomes a big problem not only for one patient, but resistant pathogens can easily infect others and spread through the population.

We search how to prevent infection by natural ingredients like essential oils and honey. P3HB itself also has moderate antimicrobial properties.1 These formulations cannot replace highly effective antibiotics, but can prevent infection burden and reduce the need for antibiotics.

Prevention and early and effective treatment of chronic wounds helps to sustain patient’s quality of life and to prevent global issues like plastic pollution, CO2 emission and antibiotics resistance.


1 Ma, L., Z. Zhang, J. Li, et al. A New Antimicrobial Agent: Poly (3-hydroxybutyric acid) Oligomer. Macromolecular Bioscience. 2019, 19(5): 1800432. doi: 10.1002/mabi.201800432.

2 Peschel, G., H.-M. Dahse, A. Konrad, et al. Growth of keratinocytes on porous films of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) and poly(4-hydroxybutyrate) blended with hyaluronic acid and chitosan. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A. 2008, 85A(4): 1072-1081. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.31666.

3 Saito, T., K. Tomita, K. Juni and K. Ooba. In vivo and in vitro degradation of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) in rat. Biomaterials. 1991, 12(3): 309-12. doi: 10.1016/0142-9612(91)90039-d.

4 Gogolewski, S., M. Jovanovic, S. M. Perren, et al. Tissue response and in vivo degradation of selected polyhydroxyacids: polylactides (PLA), poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB), and poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHB/VA). J Biomed Mater Res. 1993, 27(9): 1135-48. doi: 10.1002/jbm.820270904.

5 Bhatia, S. K., P. Wadhwa, R. K. Bhatia, et al. Strategy for Biosynthesis of Polyhydroxyalkonates Polymers/Copolymers and Their Application in Drug Delivery. In: V. C. Kalia. Biotechnological Applications of Polyhydroxyalkanoates. Singapore: Springer Singapore, 2019: 13-34. 978-981-13-3759-8.

6 Kalia, V. C., S. Ray, S. K. S. Patel, et al. The Dawn of Novel Biotechnological Applications of Polyhydroxyalkanoates. In: V. C. Kalia. Biotechnological Applications of Polyhydroxyalkanoates. Singapore: Springer Singapore, 2019: 1-11. 978-981-13-3759-8.

7 Giourieva, V. S., R. M. Papi and A. A. Pantazaki. Polyhydroxyalkanoates Applications in Antimicrobial Agents Delivery and Wound Healing. In: V. C. Kalia. Biotechnological Applications of Polyhydroxyalkanoates. Singapore: Springer Singapore, 2019: 49-76. 978-981-13-3759-8.