New way to make amino acids from wood


In Singapore, an international team of researchers developed a new sustainable chemical approach to produce a series of amino acids from woody biomass derivatives.

“Our chemical approach is potentially superior to microbial cultivation processes. The robust system is capable of producing amino acids that are of high quality, comparable with those produced by conventional microbial cultivation processes. Importantly, our system has further potential to completely convert all the glucose in the reactor and achieve an amino acid yield as high as 100 per cent. This is not possible for microbial cultivation processes because a substantial amount of glucose is consumed for growth of the microorganisms or bacteria,” explained Assistant Professor Yan.

Amino acids are essential to life. They are the building blocks for protein biosynthesis and have wide-ranging industrial applications, including being used in food for humans, in animal feed, and as precursors for biodegradable plastics, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products.