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Harnessing Biotechnology: A Practical Guide

By Steve Weiss, Genomatica |

 Biotechnology is increasingly proving its ability to address chemical industry challenges. An engineering-focused approach — bioengineering — is vital to successful industrial application For those undertaking overall process design and implementation for intermediate and specialty chemicals, the incorporation of biotechnology-based processes has become a viable option for the chemical process industries (CPI). Bioprocesses have the potential to deliver benefits in cost, quality and sustainability. Many well-known chemicals are already produced biologically. For example, Cargill Inc. (Minneapolis, Minn.; www.cargill.com) produces lactic acid for polymer applications at petrochemical scale at its Blair, Neb. site (Figure 1) using a proprietary, low-pH, yeast-based fermentation process. DuPont Tate & Lyle Bioproducts Co. (Loudon, Tenn.; www.duponttateandlyle.com) produces 1,3-propanediol biologically, after DuPont determined that bio-based production would cost less than chemical routes to that product. BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; www.basf.com) produces vitamin B2 (riboflavin) biologically and has replaced its established chemical route. Lysine is another example of a large-volume chemical produced biologically. And 1,4-butanediol…
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