Nature is our Factory
Verdezyne uses a manufacturing process you're probably familiar with. In fact, you couldn't have had your last wine and cheese party without it – fermentation. Fermentation starts with an organism (yeast) that has all the machinery in place to make a product. Using fermentation, we produce chemicals used in everyday products at a lower cost. Our chemicals can be substituted for their petroleum-based counterparts without compromising quality.
Verdezyne has developed a highly-proprietary platform for engineering yeast to metabolize multiple non-food-based renewable and traditional petroleum feedstocks and produce a number of widely-used, high-value chemicals and additives. We have selected yeast as a host because it differs in many ways from other microorganisms, such as bacteria, that make it ideal as a robust host for large-scale commercial fermentation. First of all, yeast is capable of fermentation in acidic conditions which inhibits contamination by other microorganisms. Secondly, yeast is not vulnerable to infection by naturally-occurring viruses called bacteriophage that can infect and destroy bacterial fermentations. Lastly, the production yeast we use has two chromosome copies (diploid) which provides the stability of genetic redundancy compared with bacterial systems which have one chromosome (haploid).
Everyday Products Made Through Synthetic Biology
Biology has been used for industrial purposes such as producing beer, wine, cheese, and medicines for many years. Microbes that naturally produce chemicals such as ethanol or antibiotics were domesticated in fermentation processes to make products valuable to society. Recently, the power of synthetic biology has enabled the modification of these microbes so that they produce new chemicals that can be used in industrial applications.
Synthetic biology tools such as DNA synthesis, DNA sequencing, and genome editing have become more efficient and affordable over the last decade. These tools can be used to create biochemical pathways in microbes for producing chemicals by fermentation instead of their normal production routes from petroleum. These new fermentation production methods can produce chemicals from renewable resources and replace petroleum-based chemicals for many applications in mining, construction materials, personal care, food and beverage, plastics, coatings, and adhesives.
Verdezyne has used the tools of synthetic biology to develop yeast that can produce the chemicals adipic acid and dodecanedioic acid (DDDA) by fermentation using renewable resources. These chemicals are used in many industrial applications but are best known for their use in the manufacture of nylon. Until now, these chemicals have only been produced from non-renewable petroleum resources. Recently, we have also developed yeast that can produce carotenoids by fermentation. These yellow, orange, or red-colored chemicals are familiar as the pigments that give many vegetables their color and they are known for their anti-oxidant properties. They are used as food colorants, anti-oxidants in cosmetics, animal feed additives, and in nutraceuticals. Carotenoids can be extracted from agricultural crops but are mainly produced by chemical synthesis from petroleum-based precursors, thereby making carotenoids by fermentation a more sustainable option.
We Simplify the Chemical Production Process
Below is an example of how Verdezyne's yeast platform can produce chemicals in fewer steps, with lower volumes to reach economies of scale with a simplified supply chain.
Our ability to use multiple feedstocks makes us less vulnerable to the effects of price and supply volatility, which is the case with technologies that rely solely on sugar or petroleum as a feedstock. In addition to renewable feedstocks, Verdezyne’s environmentally friendly and safer production methods are expected to generate less CO2 than petroleum-based processes, offering a reduced carbon footprint.