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Comment Environment, Health, Safety & Security

Partnership targets bio-based building blocks from CO2

By Scott Jenkins |

AkzoNobel N.V. (www.akzonobel.com) has partnered with Dutch start-up company Photanol (both Amsterdam, the Netherlands; www.photanol.com) to manufacture specialty chemicals using a photosynthesis-like process that combines sugar production with fermentation in a single organism. Photanol has developed genetically engineered cyanobacteria that are capable of consuming carbon dioxide and sunlight to make sugars via photosynthesis, and also converting the sugar into specific chemicals. “The beauty of these organisms is that they are efficient photosynthesizers, they are very amenable to genetic engineering and they excrete the fermentation products, which eliminates the need to harvest product by lysing the cells,” says Michiel Lensink, CEO of Photanol. The cyanobacteria are housed in closed-loop bioreactors that can be used on non-arable land and in areas with scarce water supplies, Photanol says, because only minimal quantities of water are required. Several possible CO2 sources are being considered. “In developing the engineered organisms, we have worked hard to de-couple the growth of the organism from the production of the fermentation product,” says Lensink, so that the microbes can continue making product…
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