Perfumes will produce germs

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Last reviewed: 16.10.2021

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23 July 2012, 12:56

Did you know that in order to fill the next container with aromatic liquid, it is necessary to make heavy work of extracting vegetable oils from the crops that, as luck would have it, grow on the edge of the Earth? .. A modern aromatic market, which is a source of aromas in everything from food and drinks to washing powders and perfumes, depends on the stability of the supply of essential oils. And this shallow source of raw materials can dry up at any time: it is enough of some kind of natural disaster or "color" revolution.

For example, in 2010 the industry was shaken by a deficit of patchouli oil - a flavor used in the production of a variety of hygiene products and economic chemistry. Heavy rains in Indonesia did not give the bush producing oil to go into growth, and the ensuing volcanic eruption and earthquakes exacerbated the situation even more ...

That's why the idea to adapt microbes for the production of aromatic oils is becoming more popular. Bitter orange, grapefruit, rose, sandalwood ... The list of common flavors that are most difficult to obtain from natural sources can be continued indefinitely. Now thanks to biotechnology some of these smells can be produced literally in a Petri dish.

Using genetic engineering of microorganisms, biotech companies like Allylix, Isobionics and Evolva create GM bacteria and yeast cultures capable of producing vegetable oils by enzymatic degradation of sugars. Moreover, they state that absolutely any plant molecule is subject to them, problems are possible only with the transition to mass production.

Here are just a few of the aromatic products produced by microbial factories: valencine (the smell of citrus, the original molecule contained in the peel of Valencian oranges), often used to create fruit drinks and perfume Nutcaton (the smell of grapefruit) and, of course, vanilla, which today, to Fortunately, do not rush to Tahiti: enough microbial fermentation. A little more, and we will live in a world of sweet microbial scents.

But in this whole story, the main thing is different. Quietly and imperceptibly for ordinary consumers an absolutely new biotechnological industry is formed, the main instrument of which is not a machine or a chemical reactor, but a gene modification of living organisms that transforms them into biogenetic factories. Such and on such a scale has never been. As the only example of a truly industrial application of bacteria for aromatization, one can only call all the forgotten attempt of the biologists of the 1930s, who worked in the country of victorious socialism and the disappeared oil, to use specially selected sour-milk bacteria to add flavor and smell of butter to the margarine (for this purpose, margarine added a little milk) ...

Well, everything has changed since then. It is no longer necessary to add milk to margarine: it is enough just to reconfigure the genetic code of a couple of bacteria - and they will produce a full set of essential flavors, which will turn into butter, even a piece of lard.

Compared with synthetic flavors (copies of natural analogs), products obtained with the help of microbes are more ecological and can still be considered natural, but our nose will not feel any difference ...

trusted-source[1], [2], [3], [4], [5]

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