Biological Production of Polymer Monomers

Producing a wide variety dicarboxylic acids for the manufacture of commercial polymers, e.g. polyesters, polyamides, polyurethanes

Starting material is renewable, cellulosic or other biomass instead of petroleum

Enzymes can be modified to produce a wide-variety of diacid polymer precursors

Compatible with a variety of host organisms and feedstocks, enabling yield/tolerance optimization

Process does not release NO2, which damages the ozone layer

Jay Keasling and Leonard Katz of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have invented novel enzymes that can be introduced into a host organism for the production of a variety of dicarboxylic acids often used as polymer intermediates. The invention promises to enable the manufacture of a wide range of polymers from sugars derived from renewable, cellulosic or other biomass instead of from petroleum intermediates.

While enzymes have been widely used to produce pharmaceuticals and agricultural products, Keasling and Katz are the first to use this specific enzyme system to produce a range of dicarboxylic acids. Because of the chemical and biological flexibility of the enzymes they are using, a large number of very diverse diacids can be produced. The technology is compatible with multiple feedstocks and hosts, enabling the optimization of yields for a particular diacid.

JBEI is seeking collaborative research partners interested in funding development of this technology over a three year period. JBEI is a San Francisco Bay Area scientific partnership led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and including the Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia), the University of California (UC) campuses of Berkeley and Davis, the Carnegie Institution for Science, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

Inventor(s): Jay Keasling, Leonard Katz

Type of Offer: Licensing

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