Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) is a polymer that belongs to polyhydroxyalkanoate produced through fermentation process under restricted growth conditions and can be used to produce biodegradable plastic. It is a thermoplastic polymer having similar properties as petroleum based polypropylene (PP). It is a stiff and brittle polymer, has a melting point of 10◦C which is lower than its degrading point and makes it a difficult substance to work with.
PHB is produced by microorganisms in response to conditions of physiological stress. It has various properties such as good oxygen permeability, water resistance, non-toxicity, biodegradability that make it useful for various end use industries. PHB offers various advantages over traditional petro chemically derived plastics and is even formed from renewable resources. It holds better physical properties than polypropylene for food packaging and is non-toxic.
The adoption of environmentally friendly products is the focus area for the governments and manufacturers across the world attributed to increasing demand for these eco-friendly products by the consumers. It has strengthened the demand for PHB in manufacturing of distinct products such as packaging material, medical devices, and mulch films.
The polyhydroxybutyrate market is anticipated to record a significant growth over the forecast period i.e. 2019-2027. The market is segmented by application & end use industry. The market is segmented by application into packaging, mulch films, medical devices & others, out of which, the packaging and mulch films segment is anticipated to have leading shares on account of increasing demand by the consumers of biodegradable packaging and harmful effects of the non-biodegradable packaging. There is a significant increase in the production of these films along with the rising awareness related to environment regarding disposal of these products.
The market is further segmented by end use industry into automotive, pharmaceutical, agricultural, food & beverage and others out of which, the pharmaceutical industry segment is anticipated to have significant growth on account of growth in the demand for PHB based medical products. In the recent past, there has been a considerable rise in the development of microcapsules based on biodegradable polymer which makes PHB important for medical application. PHB based materials are mostly recommended for use in the biomedical devices.
The major challenge for the manufacturers in the market is the high cost associated with the product. Although, with more market players investing in the market, the cost associated may come down in the near future. Petroleum reserves are deteriorating day by day leading to increase in the cost of petrochemicals and subsequently, petrochemical based polymers are becoming costly and this is expected to boost the demand for alternative low-cost biodegradable polymers.
The major benefits of using biodegradable polymers for various purposes contributes towards balancing of greenhouse gases, preserving of ecosystem and other positive impacts on the environment. PHB is degraded on exposure to soil, marine sediment or compost. According to a study, the contribution of PHB polymer in degrading microbes in the environment was likely to be 0.5-9.6% of the entire colonies. The waste generated from plastic products poses a threat to the components of the ecosystem. The use of biodegradable polymer helps in the reduction of the problems associated with non-biodegradable conventional petroleum based plastics. Currently, the world trend in the development of more bio-based plastics is worthy and the contribution of PHB in the sustainability of the ecosystem is increasing and supporting the growth of the polyhydroxybutyrate market.
There is an increase in the use of PHB in packaging material such as bin bags, cling films. Moreover, there is a rise in the consumption of packaged food owing to busy lifestyle and easy availability and this factor is anticipated to drive the polyhydroxybutyrate market during the forecast period.
Government is working continuously in taking initiatives and formulating regulations coupled with environmental agencies to reduce the harmful effects of non-biodegradable materials with eco-friendly nature of the product. Moreover, there is an increase in consumer awareness regarding the protection of environment and health concerns which is expected to drive the growth of the market.
The cost of PHB based polymers is high in comparison to conventional polymers. Furthermore, when PHB is stored at room temperature, it becomes stiff, brittle, and thermally unstable during processing. These factors are expected to hamper the growth of the market during the forecasted period.
Our-in depth analysis of the polyhydroxybutyrate market includes the following segments:
On the basis of regional analysis, the polyhydroxybutyrate market is segmented into five major regions including North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Middle East & Africa region.
Asia Pacific is estimated to have leading shares in the next few years owing to the increasing demand for PHB from various end use industries such as agriculture, pharmaceutical, automotive, and food. Moreover, the demand for biodegradable products is expected to increase in developing countries such as China, India, and Japan on account of rise in food and pharmaceutical industries in these countries. Europe is anticipated to have significant growth and has been largest market for biodegradable packaging and paper industry. Countries in this region have appeared as leading markets and are projected to observe remarkable growth in the near future. North America is expected to witness a stable growth and the U.S. is anticipated to be the largest market in this region followed by Canada and Mexico. Latin America is estimated to be the growing market. Middle East and Africa is estimated to have modest growth on the back of increase in technology with implementation of various cultivation techniques in order to enrich the crop production.
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The polyhydroxybutyrate market is further classified on the basis of region as follows:
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