BACKGROUND: Slow-degrading, fossil fuel-derived plastics can have deleterious effects on the environment, especially marine ecosystems. The production of bio-based, biodegradable plastics from or in plants can assist in supplanting those manufactured using fossil fuels. Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) is one such biodegradable polyester that has been evaluated as a possible candidate for relinquishing the use of environmentally harmful plastics. RESULTS: PHB, possessing similar properties to polyesters produced from non-renewable sources, has been previously engineered in sugarcane, thereby creating a high-value co-product in addition to the high biomass yield. This manuscript illustrates the coupling of a Fourier-transform infrared microspectrometer, equipped with a focal plane array (FPA) detector, with multivariate imaging to successfully identify and localize PHB aggregates. Principal component analysis imaging facilitated the mining of the abundant quantity of spectral data acquired using the FPA for distinct PHB vibrational modes. PHB was measured in the chloroplasts of mesophyll and bundle sheath cells, acquiescent with previously evaluated plant samples. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the power of IR microspectroscopy to rapidly image plant sections to provide a snapshot of the chemical composition of the cell. While PHB was localized in sugarcane, this method is readily transferable to other value-added co-products in different plants.