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Synthetic biology companies shift to making food additives and fragrances

| February 4, 2014
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

This year, a company will release a product that has been created by genetically modified yeast that converts sugars to vanillin, the chemical that makes vanilla taste like vanilla. It will be the first major synthetic-biology food additive to hit supermarkets.

The product marks a shift for the industry, which has typically focused on the synthesis of drugs and commodities such as biofuels and rubber. Now, synthetic-biology companies are turning to ‘fine chemicals’: food and fragrance ingredients that command high prices in small batches.

But the products may carry a different type of hazard: consumer rejection. By creating products designed to be ingested or put on the body, synthetic-biology companies are starting to attract the attention of groups that oppose the use of genetically modified (GM) organisms.

Read the full, original article: Synthetic-biology firms shift focus

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The GLP featured this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. The viewpoint is the author’s own. The GLP’s goal is to stimulate constructive discourse on challenging science issues.

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