Novozymes develops new biochemicals technology

Biochemiclas researcher Novozymes has developed a new fungus that produces malic acid from renewable raw materials instead of oil.

Bio-based malic acid can be converted into chemical derivatives used for a variety of plastic, polymer and resin products.

Malic acid belongs to the group of C4 dicarboxylic acids, which are used to convert into 1.4-butanediol (BDO) that can further be developed into numerous chemicals.

Novozymes executive vice president Thomas Videbæk said that this is their first biochemical building block and a milestone towards building a biochemical industry.

"Oil-based products are all around us, and biochemicals produced from renewable raw materials meet a global need for sustainable alternatives," Videbæk added.

"This need is growing due to concerns about crude oil scarcity and price fluctuations."

Novozymes has started out licensing its technology to produce and commercialise malic acid and derivatives made from renewable raw materials instead of oil.

The annual global market for malic acid is around 60,000t and has a value of $130m with a growth rate of 4% per year, according to the company.