Innovation and Partnerships Office

Synthesized Adipic Acid for Renewable Chemical Production 2015-106

APPLICATIONS:

  • Renewable commodity chemical production

ADVANTAGES:

  • Environmentally friendly and sustainable pathway to commodity chemicals
  • Reduces dependence on petroleum products
  • The polyketide synthases can be modified to tailor make a variety of dicarboxylic acids

ABSTRACT

Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed a technology utilizing polyketide synthases (PKS) for biologically synthesizing a dicarboxylic acid. These diacids, such as adipic acid, are the starting materials required for the synthesis of nylons and polyester products. Rather than relying on acid extraction from petroleum and other fossil fuels, this method uses renewable sugar feedstocks yielding a sustainable method of polyester synthesis. Other laboratories have modified the same type of enzymes for the manufacture of pharmaceutical and agricultural products, but the JBEI team is the first to design PKSs to synthesize dicarboxylic acids.

PKSs are enzymes that produce compounds that possess antibacterial, immunosuppressive, and anti-cancer qualities. Through the manipulation of PKS reactions that utilize sugar as an energy source, the process of creating diacid derivatives to be used in polyester synthesis becomes streamlined and renewable. The sugars can be derived from the deconstruction of biomass. Currently, millions of metric tons of fossil fuels are used for commodity chemical production.

DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Hagen, A. R., Poust, S., de Rond, T., Fortman, J. L., Katz, L.,Petzold, C., Keasling, J. D. “Engineering a polyketide synthase for in vitro production of adipic acid,” ACS SynBiol. 5:21-27, 2015. doi: 10.1021/acssynbio.5b00153.

STATUS: Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.

REFERENCE NUMBER: 2015-106