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Industrial and Chemicals

Industrial use of Synthetic Biology will produce new means for synthesizing existing or completely new chemicals. One day, there might be no more need for huge chemical facilities, instead bio reactors containing tailor made synthetic cells will be capable of producing the end product in one step.

Algae Fuel

Algae naturally contains oil which can be refined to fuel. As it has plenty of advantages in growing, maintaining and harvesting, it is a very promising source of future fuel supply. Since natural algae strains are not capable of competing with the current oil prices, synthetic biologists hope to solve those issues in the future.


Bioplastics are plastics derived from renewable biomass sources, such as vegetable fats and oils, corn starch, or microbiota.  Bioplastic can be made from agricultural by-products and also from used plastic bottles and other containers using microorganisms. In contrat, common plastics are fossil-fuel plastics (also called petrobased polymers), which are derived from petroleum or natural gas. 

Cement grown by bacteria

bioMASON employs natural microorganisms and chemical processes to manufacture biological cement-based masonry building materials.

Diesel and Jetfuel from Yeast

Amyris has partnered with Total to develop an alternative to jet fuel. In 2012, Amyris succeeded in demonstrating renewable fuel by using yeast as microbial factories to produce hydrocarbons. To produce the targeted molecule, farnesene, Amyris and Total is working on optimizing their first sugar conversion processes. 

Hydrogen from bacteria

This research resulted in a 500-fold increase in the amount of hydrogen produced in the bacterium used, thus potentially bringing biological production of this clean fuel source one step closer to economic feasibility. They focused their attention on one possible -- yet problematic -- biological production method involving an enzyme known as hydrogenase.

Ink and Dyes by Bacteria

Pili created biological ink using bioproduction from soil bacteria. Their dyes are not only for use in pens and inks, but fabrics. Currently the team is researching to expand the color palette for the ink.

Self healing concrete

Researchers from Delft Technical University in the Netherlands have developed concrete that can heal itself using special bacteria. 

Silk leaf produces oxygen

Silk leaf is basically a minimalistic leaf that photosynthesizes, thus absorbs CO² and produces oxygen. It is mostly composed by silk protein and chloroplasts. It was developed by the Artist Julian Melchiorri in London.

Silk production from yeast

Bolt threads can now produce large quantities of silk for commercial applications from genetically engineered yeast. This could change the clothing industry, as well as provide new biomaterials for construction and biomedical applications. It turns out that yeast fermentation can yield a much larger amount of the material as opposed to harvesting from the wild.

Time-lapse Bio-ink

Living Ink is about to produce Ink that disappears a few minutes after paining with it - and then comes back either 3 days or a week later, depending which pen you use. You can write a letter or a picture that changes over time.

What do you think?

About the authors

View full profile Jérôme Lutz from Berlin & Munich, Germany

I like to share the great things I discover daily while researching and working in the field of Synthetic Biology.

When I talk to people about it, they often refer to Science Fiction. However, when I send them links to this wiki and they read through those pages, they start understanding that this is real and it's happening right now.

View full profile Phillip Nowotny