APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Acrylate polymers for broad application: plastic additives, surface coatings, water treatment, adhesives, textiles, surfactants, and others.
- Production of 3-HP with very high yield
- Cost reduction
- Process optimization
Acrylate is a crucial industrial component of polymers utilized for a wide range of products across industries, with the global acrylic acid market expected to reach 8,169.9 kilotons and a revenue of $18.8 billion by 2020. In 2004, 3-hydroxypropionate (3-HP) – a key bioproduct for acrylic acid production – was identified as one of the top 12 value added chemicals from biomass because it can be converted into acrylic acid in one step. Addressing the need for an efficient metabolic pathway for 3-HP production, researchers at Berkeley Lab and University of California, Davis have discovered an enzyme that is capable of catalyzing oxaloacetate (OAA) decarboxylation and thus enabling the production of 3-HP with very high yield.
This milestone discovery involves a semi-synthetic route for acrylic acid production via OAA decarboxylase. Researchers were able to achieve an unprecedented yield of ~100% g 3-HP/g glucose. Although this pathway for 3-HP production had been previously studied, the enzyme was not as active as the one discovered in the present invention, with the average titer remaining around 150 mg/L.
Over seven metabolic pathways have been proposed for 3-HP production, but all lack efficiency. In contrast, this novel pathway enables the production of 3-HP in the anaerobic condition, yielding such byproducts as ethanol and lactic acid, and can therefore save both capital and operating costs required for aeration. Ultimately, it holds applications in sustainable acrylic acid production.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle
STATUS: Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.
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