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A move toward bio-based malic acid, acrylic acid and butadiene

By Chemical Engineering |

A move toward bio-based malic acid… Novozymes A/S (Copenhagen, Denmark; www.novozymes.com) has developed a strain of metabolically engineered Aspergillus oryzae fungus that is capable of producing the four-carbon, dicarboxylic acid compound malic acid. The chemical building block malic acid is used as a flavor enhancer in the food industry, and can be converted into 1,4-butanediol (BDO), which serves as a precursor to many other chemical derivatives used in resins and polymers. Developed in partnership with Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM; Decatur, Ill.; www.adm.com), the robust fungus strain generates high yields of malic acid and has the potential to achieve production economics similar to petroleum-derived malic acid, says Novozymes vice president Rasmus von Gottberg. Novozymes is looking to out-license the fungus strain and associated technology to partners who would commercialize the bio-based malic acid and its derivatives.   . . . and acrylic acid . . . Meanwhile, BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; www.basf.com), Cargill (Minneapolis, Minn.; www.cargill.com) and Novozymes signed a joint R&D agreement to develop an industrial biotechnology-based production process for acrylic acid. Since 2008, Novozymes and Cargill…
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