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Metabolic Engineering

Phenol from the Bioreactor

Phenol is an important base chemical that is used for, among other things, the production of polymers. Industry’s annual consumption is around nine million metric tons. Phenol is obtained from fossil raw materials whose stocks are limited. The search for alternative methods of synthesis has already begun. A research team at Bayer Technology Services has achieved a special success in this connection. They managed to induce coli bacteria to synthesize phenol. The only starting material the microbes require is sugar, which can be obtained from plant waste. The next step will be to convert this synthesis principle to an industrial scale.

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