CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Metabolix, Inc. (NASDAQ: MBLX), an innovation-driven performance biomaterials company delivering sustainable solutions to the plastics, chemicals and energy industries, today announced recent advancements in the development of the Company's PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) biopolymer technology. Rubber modifiers are introduced for improving the performance of PLA (polylactide) biopolymers. Metabolix Vice President, Biopolymers, Bob Engle will present these developments at the Innovation Takes Root 2014 Conference, taking place February 17 – 19 in Orlando, Florida. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140218/NE65695LOGO ) Metabolix has developed new amorphous PHA biopolymers with the physical characteristics of a low Tg rubber. These new rubber modifiers have been shown to improve the ductility and flexibility of PLA, while also retaining clarity and compostability. In PLA extrusion applications, Mirel TM rubber modifiers lower stiffness and brittleness and improve tactile feel. In PLA film applications these rubber modifiers also increase tear resistance. PHA and PLA biopolymers are both biobased and compostable, making them attractive for sustainability and performance-driven business opportunities. "Metabolix continues to make great progress in the use of our core PHA technology as a performance-driven modifier in applications where improved performance of both biobased and conventional polymers such as PLA and PVC is desired," said Joseph Shaulson, president and CEO of Metabolix. "In this case, Mirel rubber modifiers have the potential to expand the application space for PLA which may lead to new business opportunities." "These innovative Mirel rubber modifiers are an exciting extension to the Metabolix PHA technology platform. Their capability to modify and improve PLA demonstrates performance that is comparable to traditional non-renewable rubber modifiers without compromising the renewable nature of PLA or key features of clarity and compostability," added Bob Engle, vice president, biopolymers of Metabolix. "We look forward to presenting our new biobased rubber modifiers for PLA at Innovation Takes Root. " Overview of Innovation Takes Root 2014 Panel Presentation:"Metabolix Launches PHA Modifiers for PLA in 2014," part of "Broadening the Application Space for Ingeo Films" PanelTuesday, February 18 at 2:00 p.m., Grand Ballroom 1-2 Engle will present data showcasing Metabolix's extended range of PHA compositions into the amorphous regime to offer a unique way to compound PLA. The Metabolix bio-elastomers modify PLA, improving physical properties without compromising clarity. In PLA films, Metabolix modifiers lower the modulus and improve tear resistance. In extruded and molded parts, the PHA modifiers improve ductility and reduce brittle fracturing. Distinctly high bio-content and biodegradability set Metabolix PHA modifiers apart from traditional non-renewable counterparts.