Industrial biotechnology

Industrial biotechnology involves the use of living cells or their components for the production of goods and services aimed at greater environmental sustainability in industrial production systems.

They present a rich range of applications and the number of sectors in which they can be used is increasingly wide. In particular, their use in the production of chemical products is still at an early stage, while the prospects of industrial biotechnology are very significant in the field of polymers – i.e. molecules with high molecular weight – where the use of biotechnological process allows to eliminate, for example, the use of sulfuric acid, thus producing less waste and presenting lower energy costs.

Of great interest is the specific segment of the synthesis of biodegradable polymers, in which polylactic acid, produced since 2002 by means of fermentation from starch, has properties similar to conventional polymers, but is completely biodegradable.

With regard to consumer products, industrial biotechnology has made it possible, for example, to reduce the environmental impact of detergents by replacing phosphates with citric acid, which is just as effective, but completely biodegradable, non-toxic, low-cost and produced by fermentation from renewable sources. We should also remember that, thanks to the use of enzymes in detergents, it is possible to wash at lower temperatures, with consequent energy savings.

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