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Production of natural vanillin from isoeugenol biotransformation by microorganisms

Grant number: 20/00372-9
Support type:Research Grants - Innovative Research in Small Business - PIPE
Duration: November 01, 2020 - July 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering - Chemical Process Industries
Principal researcher:Fernando César Barbosa
Grantee:Fernando César Barbosa
Company:Edenizia Tavares Chaves Lucas
CNAE: Pesquisa e desenvolvimento experimental em ciências físicas e naturais
City: São Paulo
Assoc. researchers:Bianca Consorti Bussamra
Associated scholarship(s):21/01696-5 - Production of natural vanillin by biotransformation of isoeugenol by microorganisms, BP.TT
20/12888-0 - Production of natural vanillin through biotransformation of isoeugenol by microorganisms, BP.PIPE


Vanillin is the main component of vanilla extract (vanilla), one of the most accepted and used flavors worldwide. However, less than 1% of this amount comes from natural sources. The growing demand for environmentally friendly bioprocesses and a demand from consumers and companies for natural products has increased interest in alternative routes to produce natural vanillin. The global vanillin market has a demand of more than 20 thousand tons per year and an expected annual compound growth rate (CAGR) of 8.3% until 2024. Given the growth expectations, the Bio-Vanillin market tends to move around from $ 495 million by 2024, for consumption in 3 main sectors: food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry. In 2015, Nestlé and General Mills announced plans to use only natural ingredients in their production lines within 5 years. Although ferulic acid is the best explored substrate to produce natural vanillin, its extraction from the plant cell wall in a natural way has made the process costly and challenging, in addition to having a low theoretical maximum molar yield (72%). On the other hand, the use of isoeugenol, a phenylpropene present in the essential oil of the clove tree, four times cheaper than ferulic acid and with a maximum theoretical molar yield of 92%, appears as an alternative substrate to produce natural vanillin. In a proof of concept carried out with bacteria isolated from national soil, Biotimize was able to prove the production of vanillin from isoeugenol. Therefore, the present project aims to optimize the biotechnological process to produce natural vanillin from the biotransformation of isoeugenol. To this end, Biotimize will conduct a market study to understand the expectations of potential customers and, with these results, evaluate the growth and production capacity of potential strains producing vanillin in high concentrations of isoeugenol; select the production system, as well as the concentration of isoeugenol, initial cell concentration and temperature to optimize the production of vanillin; and develop a process for purifying natural vanillin. Biotimize expects to achieve a conversion rate of isoeugenol to vanillin of at least 60% with a purification yield of at least 80% after the development of the project. Reaching the expected results, Biotimize aims to build its pilot plant and scale its production to 50 L of cultivation, in order to produce a ton of natural vanillin in 2024 and reach a national market share of 3.5%, with net sales of more of 2 million reais. Having reached this stage, Biotimize aims to build its industrial plant. (AU)

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