Viewpoint: From biofuels to food flavorings, here’s 10 ways biotechnology boosts sustainability

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Vanillin made through synthetic biology. Image: iStockphoto

As climate change looms over our future, many industries are turning to biology for solutions to make all aspects of our lives more sustainable for the environment.

Biological processes can be used to …. produce new materials with lower pollution, water, land, and energy use …. Here are 10 areas where biotech is already making an impact.

Biofuels

Fossil fuels are the biggest culprit behind air pollution …. [B]iofuels produced from crops have become an increasingly common alternative. However, these crops are starting to compete for agricultural land, which can contribute to deforestation and rising food prices.

Several companies are going back to the natural ability of some microorganisms to break down agricultural or forestry waste to produce fuels …. Other companies such as Solaga in Germany and AlgaEnergy in Spain are researching how to produce fuels from sunlight and carbon dioxide using algae.

Related article:  Could 'ultrasonic squeals' from plants help farmers protect water-starved crops?

Flavorings

Most flavorings were traditionally extracted from plants. Today, however, many of them are produced through petrochemical processes. Biotechnology could provide an environmentally friendly alternative …. 160,000 oranges are needed to produce just a liter of the orange flavoring molecule valencene.

Read full, original article: Ten Ways Biotechnology Makes the World More Sustainable

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