Archives :: Chementator :: Bioprocessing

Displaying 1 - 20 of 50 stories.
October 1, 2014
Scientists at Kao Corp. (KAO; Tokyo, Japan; have discovered an enzyme that has the potential for producing large quantities of medium-chain (C12) fatty acids (FAs), which are the main components of natural oils, such as palm-kernel and coconut-palm oils. Such FAs are precursors to surfactants used in shampoos and detergents. The discovery could lead to an alternative route to such...
October 1, 2014
Algae Systems LLC (Daphne, Ala.; has inaugurated a demonstration plant that integrates municipal wastewater treatment with the cultivation of biofuel-producing algae. Pretreated and disinfected municipal wastewater is passed to Algae Systems offshore floating-bag photobioreactors (PBRs), which are located in a bay off of Daphnes coast. There, the oxygen, nitrogen and phosphorous from the...
September 1, 2014
Edeniq Inc. (Visalia, Calif.; announced progress in building demonstration facilities in Brazil and China that feature the company’s proprietary process for converting cellulosic biomass into industrial sugar for fermentation or catalytic conversion (diagram). In Brazil’s São Paulo state, Edeniq is partnering with Usina Vale to build a 10-ton/d demonstration plant that...
August 1, 2014
What is said to be the world’s first fermentation pathway from methane to lactic acid has been demonstrated by Calysta, Inc. (Menlo Park, Calif.; The fermentation process begins with an organism that feeds off of methane rather than typical sugar-based feedstocks and, through synthetic biology, has been altered to convert that methane to high levels of lactic acid. This lactic acid...
July 1, 2014
A less expensive process for producing biodegradeable polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) plastics from renewable feedstocks is being scaled up by a factor of six, resulting in a 30,000–60,000-lb/mo pilot facility. The improved PHA process — developed by Meredian Inc. (Bainbridge, Ga.; — stems from a patent portfolio initially established by Proctor and Gamble. The microbial...
July 1, 2014
NEC Corp. (Tokyo, Japan; has developed a two-stage, heterogeneous synthesis for making a high-functionality bioplastic (70 wt.% plant content) from non-edible plant cellulose. The new bioplastic is said to have excellent thermo-plasticity (275 MFR), heat resistance (140°C glass transition...
July 1, 2014
Biosynthetic Technologies (Irvine, Calif.; has developed a continuous-flow process to convert any animal- or plant-based fatty acids with high oleic-acid content into synthetic esters that can be used in formulations for motor oils and industrial lubricants. These biosynthetic esters have extremely high oxidative stability, good hydrolytic stability and very low evaporative loss, the...
June 1, 2014
With a separate algae-based technology, Algal Scientific has invented a sterile fermentation process for making beta-1,3-glucan from algae that has lower costs than those associated with fermenting the molecule with yeast. Beta-1,3-glucan is a polysaccharide that boosts immune-system function in humans and livestock animals. As a feed supplement, beta-glucan can eliminate the use of antibiotics as growth...
June 1, 2014
In April, a demonstration plant started up that makes bioethanol from cassava residue — a byproduct of tapioca production. The demonstration plant, located at the cassava starch plant of EBP Ethanol Co. in Sa Kaeo Province, Thailand, is part of a four-year, $7-million project of New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and Thailands National Innovation Agency. The project...
May 1, 2014
Process monitoring in biotechnology processes is critical to maximizing product yield and optimizing nutrient consumption. Startup company Stratophase Ltd. (Romsey, U.K.; is now offering the first realtime, in-situ micro-optical sensor for monitoring and control of bioprocesses involving both microbes and mammalian cells. Using specially configured optical structures that incorporate...
March 1, 2014
Construction is underway in France on a pilot plant for what is believed to be the first fermentation process capable of directly producing the light olefin isobutene. Global Bioenergies (Evry, France; expects to begin operations of a 500-L fermentation facility in the second half of 2014 and plans to follow that with a 5,000-L fermenter in Germany the following year. Isobutene...
March 1, 2014
A new chemical process is set to create bio-based p-xylene from cellulosic waste. Micromidas (West Sacramento, Calif.; opened a pilot plant in December 2013 that converts cellulosic waste materials, such as rice hulls, switchgrass, sawdust and cardboard to bio-based p-xylene. The Micromidas process is unusual in that it does not require the cellulose to be saccharified first, and both...
March 1, 2014
A new process-intensification technology to accelerate the rate of enzymatic reactions has been developed by researchers from the Dept. of Chemical Engineering, University of Bath (U.K.; The so-called spinning cloth disc reactor (SCDR) is based on, but extends the principles of, the conventional spinning disc reactor (SDR). The SCDR also uses centrifugal forces to allow the spread of a...
January 1, 2014
Australian researchers have developed a method of cleaning arsenic out of contaminated water by combining the effects of bacteria and microalgae. Professor Megh Mallavarapu and his team, from the Cooperative Research Center for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE; and the University of South Australia (both Mawson Lakes, South Australia;
January 1, 2014
Extraction of palm oil generates large amounts of lignocellulose-rich byproduct known as empty fruit bunch (EFB), which is usually wasted. A new process for utilizing this waste to make lactic acid has been developed by a team of researchers in Singapore. Up to now, it has been difficult to find cost-effective processes for the production of L-lactic acid, which has inhibited the commercial production of...
January 1, 2014
Professor Takao Masuda and colleagues at Hokkaido University (Sapporo;, in collaboration with Idemitsu Kosan Co. (Idemitsu; Tokyo; both Japan;, have developed a two-step process that converts wood-based lignin into phenols...
December 1, 2013
The National Food Research Institute (NFRI) of the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO; Tsukuba City, Japan; has developed an enzymatic pretreatment process for producing highly concentrated sugar solution from fibrous materials containing rice straw and starch. The process can be used for producing specific sugar solutions, depending on the local raw materials...
December 1, 2013
The effluent discharged by domestic industries in Japan amounts to approximately 11.1 billion ton/yr. Most of this waste is comprised of relatively low concentrations of organic matter. Today, most of this effluent is treated by aerobic biotreatment (activated sludge). However, activated sludge treatment not only consumes large amounts of electric power needed to run blowers or fans, but it also produces...
December 1, 2013
A research team from the University of Western Australia (Perth;, led by professor Dongke Zhang, has pioneered the application of higher plants for new-generation biofuel production. Metabolic engineering of Arabidopsis thaliana — a small flowering plant native to Europe and Asia, which was the first plant to have its genome sequenced — caused the plant to produce triterpene...
November 1, 2013
Harvest Power (Waltham, Mass.; recently began operation of the first commercial-scale, high-solids anaerobic digester in North America. The facility produces biogas from food waste and yard waste in Richmond, B.C., Canada. “The anaerobic digester employs essentially the same biology that you would see in the stomachs of...
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