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The compound polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) is of considerable industrial interest as a biodegradable substitute for plastic. PHB is synthesized from glycerol by the bacterium Ralstonia eutropha. PHB accumulates to high levels in proteindelimited inclusion bodies called PHB granules that are thought to protect the compound from degradation. PHB stains with the blue dye polyphorin 3Z27, so Ralstonia colonies on polyphorin plates have a blue color when glycerol is present (and PHB is made), but a white color if glycerol is absent (and PHB is not made).

Since bacterium E. coli is not able to synthesize PHB, but it would be useful to engineer an E. coli that does so. What approaches can I use with E. coli to identify the Ralstonia genes that synthesize PHB and promote granule formation?

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