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Harnessing the Power of Mauritius Hemp Fibres for Polyhydroxybutyrate Biopolymer Synthesis

aUniversity of Mauritius, Mauritius
bUniversity of Stavanger, Norway

Innovation, Social Responsibility and Sustainability

ISBN: 978-1-83797-463-4, eISBN: 978-1-83797-462-7

Publication date: 14 December 2023


The increasing accumulation of synthetic plastic waste in oceans and landfills, along with the depletion of non-renewable fossil-based resources, has sparked environmental concerns and prompted the search for environmentally friendly alternatives. Biodegradable plastics derived from lignocellulosic materials are emerging as substitutes for synthetic plastics, offering significant potential to reduce landfill stress and minimise environmental impacts. This study highlights a sustainable and cost-effective solution by utilising agricultural residues and invasive plant materials as carbon substrates for the production of biopolymers, particularly polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), through microbiological processes. Locally sourced residual materials were preferred to reduce transportation costs and ensure accessibility. The selection of suitable residue streams was based on various criteria, including strength properties, cellulose content, low ash and lignin content, affordability, non-toxicity, biocompatibility, shelf-life, mechanical and physical properties, short maturation period, antibacterial properties and compatibility with global food security. Life cycle assessments confirm that PHB dramatically lowers CO2 emissions compared to traditional plastics, while the growing use of lignocellulosic biomass in biopolymeric applications offers renewable and readily available resources. Governments worldwide are increasingly inclined to develop comprehensive bioeconomy policies and specialised bioplastics initiatives, driven by customer acceptability and the rising demand for environmentally friendly solutions. The implications of climate change, price volatility in fossil materials, and the imperative to reduce dependence on fossil resources further contribute to the desirability of biopolymers. The study involves fermentation, turbidity measurements, extraction and purification of PHB, and the manufacturing and testing of composite biopolymers using various physical, mechanical and chemical tests.




The authors would like to acknowledge the University of Mauritius, the Higher Education Commission and UNESCO-L’Oréal For Women in Science for funding this research project.


Jaffur, N.B., Jeetah, P. and Kumar, G. (2023), "Harnessing the Power of Mauritius Hemp Fibres for Polyhydroxybutyrate Biopolymer Synthesis", Crowther, D. and Seifi, S. (Ed.) Innovation, Social Responsibility and Sustainability (Developments in Corporate Governance and Responsibility, Vol. 22), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 139-171.



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Copyright © 2024 Nausheen Bibi Jaffur, Pratima Jeetah and Gopalakrishnan Kumar. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited