Designing novel biochemical pathways to commodity chemicals

2019-09-02T16:14:27Z (GMT) by Eleanor Vigrass Ahsan Islam
Commodity chemicals are high-value chemicals used by industries to synthesise countless consumer products of daily use. For example, it was estimated that the global demand for benzene in 2015 was 46 million tonnes [1]. Many of these chemicals are mainly derived from petroleum feedstocks. With these feedstocks depleting and global pressure to reduce CO2 emissions, there is an urgent need to turn to sustainable bio-based methods to produce these chemicals [2]. Computational software can provide insight and be used to design novel biochemical pathways to produce commodity chemicals. The advantage being that these tools help engineer routes and suggest enzymes capable of catalysing these reactions [3]. In this study, the software ReactPRED and RetroPath 2.0 was used to design pathways to a few bulk chemicals, including benzene, phenol and 1,2-propanediol. These chemicals were chosen due to their high demands and current pathway knowledge.