Tokyo – Japan’s Yokohama Rubber Co. (YRC), in collaboration with Zeon Corp. and the national R&D agency RIKEN, has developed what it describes as 'the world’s first technology to efficiently produce butadiene from a biomass.'
Developed at Zeon and RIKEN’s joint “bio-monomer production laboratory” the technology creates “cells with excellent butadiene-producing ability using new artificial pathways and enzymes,” Yokohama announced in a 13 April statement.
The new process makes it possible to go through cheaper intermediates than conventional metabolic pathways and employs enzymes know-how to ‘significantly reduce’ the cost of butadiene fermentative production.
The research team also has succeeded in producing polybutadiene rubber from the butadiene produced by the new technology, according to Yokohama Rubber.
Yokohama, RIKEN center for sustainable resource science (CSRS), and Zeon have been cooperating in joint research project since 2013.
In 2018 the researchers developed a new artificial pathway and highly active enzymes to create cells with isoprene-synthesising capability.
The bio-monomer production laboratory was established at RIKEN in April 2020, under the agency’s “integrated collaborative research programme with industry.”
Going forward, the team said they would conduct research to establish “more highly productive enzymes and an efficient purification technology by organically fusing the know-how and technologies of Yokohama Rubber, RIKEN and Zeon.”