APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Industrial biotechnologies, fermentation industry, renewable chemical companies
- Occurs at lower temperature and pressure
Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed a technology for the microbial production of lactams from renewable sources. The JBEI technology uses in vitro enzyme assays to produce epsilon-caprolactam and delta-valerolactam, two essential chemicals that are used in the manufacture of nylons. The lactam formation reaction was characterized by product analysis.
Caprolactam and valerolactam are currently synthesized from starting materials extracted from petroleum. The process is energy intensive, involves harsh acidic reaction conditions, and produces a great amount of waste salts. Thus, the new technology is an improvement because enzymatic or whole-cell-catalyzed reactions can now occur at lower temperature and pressure. Prior to this invention, there was no enzyme able to synthesize industrially important lactams under microbial fermentation conditions.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Zhang, J., Barajas, J. F., Burdu, M., Wang, G., Baidoo, E. E., & Keasling, J. D. (2017). Application of an Acyl-CoA Ligase from Streptomyces aizunensis for Lactam Biosynthesis. ACS Synthetic Biology. https://doi.org/10.1021/acssynbio.6b00372
STATUS: Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.
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