9-30: Sustainable production of industrial chemicals: 1,4-butanediol

Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Napoleon Ballroom C-D, 3rd fl (Sheraton New Orleans)
Harry Yim, Genomatica, San Diego, CA
Oil and natural gas are used as the primary raw materials for manufacturing an astonishing array of large volume chemicals, polymers, and other products that improve our overall standard of living.  Growing concerns over the environment and volatile fossil energy costs have inspired a quest to develop more sustainable processes that afford these same products from renewable feedstocks with lower cost, energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions.  Metabolic engineering of microorganisms is a powerful approach to address this need. Chemical Engineers are at the forefront of this emerging industry, contributing expertise in areas such as computational biology, fermentation process development, and commercial plant design.

A recent success story in sustainable chemical process development is Genomatica’s production of the industrial chemical 1,4-butanediol (BDO) using engineered strains of Escherichia coli. As a chemical intermediate that goes into a range of products including automotive, electronics and apparels (such as spandex), this product represents an opportunity to make a significant impact on the replacement of traditional petrochemical processes with bioprocesses using renewable feedstocks—on the order of a $4B market.

This presentation will cover the application of Genomatica’s technology platform to design, construct, and optimize a high-performing microorganism capable of producing BDO from carbohydrate feedstocks.

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