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BASF collaborates with BioTork for bio-based chemicals

Global chemical supplier BASF has entered into a development deal with American biotechnology firm BioTork to develop microbial strains for the industrial production of bio-based polymers and green chemicals.


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June 16, 2012 by Canadian Plastics

Global chemical supplier BASF has entered into a development deal with American biotechnology firm BioTork to develop microbial strains for the industrial production of bio-based polymers and green chemicals.

The financial terms of the partnership have not been disclosed. The two companies have been working together since early this year.  

BASF has been conducting research on the use of microorganisms for the production of proteins, enzymes, vitamins and other high value and low cost chemicals. “In their natural environment, microorganisms generally synthesize these chemicals only to meet their own requirements for survival,” BASF said in a press release. “The challenge faced by chemical companies is to push these microorganisms to produce these chemicals faster, in much larger quantities, and under industrial conditions that are different from the microorganisms’ natural environment. This is the only way to use microorganisms for commercially viable production of chemical products.” To achieve this goal, the company continued, it’s using metabolic engineering techniques to make targeted modifications to certain microorganisms in order to optimize bioconversion capability, increase yield and eliminate bottlenecks.

“A recently completed pilot study between BioTork and BASF demonstrated that these engineered microorganisms could be further optimized for maximal industrial performance using adaptive evolution” said Tom Lyons, Chief Scientific Officer of Gainesville, Fla.-based BioTork. “Laboratory results confirm a synergy effect between the metabolic modifications engineered by BASF and the proprietary adaptive evolution technology used by BioTork”.