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Microorganisms present renewable path to nylon forerunners

With two additional patents in hand, Genomatica (San Diego, CA) says it's securing the intellectual property around a greener path to nylon. The first patent, awarded from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, described microorganisms for the production of adipic acid and other compounds, creating a renewable path to key intermediate chemicals used to produce nylon. The second patent covers methods and organisms for utilizing synthesis gas or other gaseous carbon sources and methanol.

(San Diego, CA) says it's securing the intellectual property around a greener path to nylon. The first patent, awarded from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, described microorganisms for the production of adipic acid and other compounds, creating a renewable path to key intermediate chemicals used to produce nylon. The second patent covers methods and organisms for utilizing synthesis gas or other gaseous carbon sources and methanol. Specifically, engineering an organism that uses syngas as a feedstock to make green, sustainably produced versions of major chemical products. Syngas, which can be derived from biomass or municipal solid waste, is generally less expensive than other renewable feedstocks.

In the case of the first patent, adipic acid and 6-aminocaproic acid (6-ACA), can be used to produce nylon 6,6 and nylon 6, respectively. Noting that 10 billion lb of nylon are used per year, worldwide, Genomatica says production of these green intermediates would allow a renewable, sustainable nylon, using existing manufacturer equipment and processes, and with a smaller environmental footprint.

With the second patent, the syngas can be used to generate power or be converted into liquid fuels. Prior to its development, Genomatica says converting syngas to chemicals could only be done through chemical processing techniques, which were generally energy-intensive and limited in their ability to produce specific chemical products. Genomatica's patent describes how it can use its bio-technology to design organisms that efficiently and economically convert syngas into specific target chemical products. Genomatica has already designed and engineered organisms to convert sugars into 1,4-butanediol (BDO).

Genomatica says it now holds numerous patents that have been issued directly to the company or exclusively licensed to it, along with 19 published patent applications, and more than 100 patent filings. The company's goal is to create sustainable chemicals, including greener intermediate and basic chemicals made from current and next-generation renewable feedstocks, rather than oil and gas. The company has entered into partnerships with Dow, DSM, Unilever, NatureWorks/Cargill, Kyowa Hakko, and Verenium. 

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