Iowa State University,
Keywords: biorenewable nylon, biorenewable PET
Summary:Advances in biological engineering over the last several decades have increased the production of naturally (and some non-naturally) occurring molecules from biomass. However, it is evident that despite these gains, relying solely on biological methods will retard the eventual development of processes that will be suitable for industrial adoption for the production of commodity and specialty chemicals. A combination of biological and chemical reactions, beginning with biological conversion of biomass to platform chemicals followed by chemical conversion to desired end products, will be required to realize the promise of a sustainable chemical industry. Iowa State University researchers have developed an integrated process combining fermentation using metabolically engineered yeast with electrocatalytic and chemical processing to create bio-based polyamides and terephthalic acid. Glucose is fermented to muconic acid (MA), which then is either electrocatalytically hydrogenated to a mixture of 3-hexenedioic acid (HDA) and adipic acid for subsequent polycondensation with 1,6-hexamethylenediamine to an unsaturated polyamide 6,6 or is isomerized to a trans,trans-muconic acid which can undergo a Diels Alder reaction to produce terephthalic acid for PET manufacture.