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Sustainable enzyme-based production of macrocyclic lactones for fragrances

By Scott Jenkins |

Planned commercial-scale production of macrocyclic gamma-lactone molecules using an enzymatic process will supply the flavors and fragrances market with sustainable alternatives to existing processes based on synthesizing petroleum-derived molecules or isolating molecules from natural sources. The synthetic biology company Conagen Inc. (Bedford, Mass.; www.conagen.com) recently announced the commercial development of natural musk-scent compounds based on lactone (cyclic ester) chemistry for inclusion in scented formulations of colognes, perfumes, cosmetics, personal care products, household cleaners, air-care products and candles. The company says it plans to have its initial commercial product available to cosmetics customers through commercial partner Blue California, by mid-2021. The company anticipates additional compounds will enter commercial production in the subsequent months. The commercial-scale process for producing the macrocyclic lactones is based on proprietary synthetic biology and metabolic engineering platform technologies developed by Conagen. In the case of musk scents, plant-derived lipids are converted into desired lactones using enzymatic conversion in bioreactors. “We have become very effective at maximizing…
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