NUS Enterprise

Bioproduction of Fine Chemicals of Natural Origin

Technology #2017-052

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Researchers
Li Zhi
Managed By
Ms Yong Yoke Ping (iloyyp@nus.edu.sg)
Manager (65)66011680
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2017-052_Tech_Offer.pdf [PDF]

Market Opportunity

Consumers in the cosmetic, perfume and food industries often prefer the fine chemicals (e.g. flavours and fragrances) used in the product to be obtained from natural sources. However, the extraction of these specialty chemicals from botanical sources is unable to meet consumer demands, leading to a high price for these chemicals. For example, 2-Phenylethanol (2-PE) is a rose-like fragrance, widely used in cosmetic, perfume, and food industries (FEMA-GRAS 2858) with an annual production of 10,000 tones, and mainly produced by chemical synthesis from benzene or styrene. 2-Phenylethanol extracted from natural sources has a selling price of up to USD 1000/kg.

Technology

This technology relates to a novel biocatalytic route (pathway) to produce “natural” 2-phenylethanol (2-PE), phenylacetaldehyde (PA), phenylacetic acid (PAA), and phenylethylamine (PEA) from the easily available biobased L-phenylalanine (L-Phe) and glucose (scheme 1), using specially engineered micro-organisms for the biotransformation.



Figure 1: Demonstrated pathway to produce fine chemicals of natural origin using L-phenylalanine as the source.

Possible products that can be obtained via this methodology are shown below.

Product: Phenylethylamine and its derivatives

 

Product: 2-phenylethanol and its derivatives


Product: Phenylacetic acid and its derivatives


Stage of Development

TRL 4. Technology component validation in laboratory environment

Applications

·  Synthesis of “natural” 2-phenylethanol (2-PE), phenylacetaldehyde (PA), phenylacetic acid (PAA), and phenylethylamine (PEA) from the easily available biobased L-phenylalanine (L-Phe)

·  Synthesis of arylacetic acids and (S)-2-arylpropionic acids directly from easily available styrenes

·  Environmentally friendly, highly selective, and high yielding synthesis of terminal amines and alcohols

Advantages

1.  Up to 15 g/L of styrene, the key intermediate, can be produced from bio-based L-phenylalanine.

2.  >98% conversion and high regioselectivity to high value products

3.  Biotransformation is conducted via recombinant E. Coli cells. The source E.Coli cells are low cost and commonly available.

Status

Patent pending. Available for licensing.