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White biotechnology is a fast emerging area that concerns itself with the …

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- Relevance of chemistry to white biotechnology

The demand for biodegradable polymers has grown at a rate of 20–30% per year [12]. The market segments include textiles, computers, mobile phones, gardening, packaging and flushable hygiene products. Poly(hydroxyalkanoates) and starch-based materials are the better known important examples of such materials. DuPont's Sorona™ is based on 1,3-propanediol, which in turn is produced from corn sugar. NatureWorks™ uses lactic acid that is again produced from the fermentation of corn sugar [13]. It is envisaged that future plastics would come from sugars, starch, cellulose and vegetable oils [12]. The underperformance of many bioplastics has delayed their wider adoption. The synergy between polymer chemists and biotechnologists should be able to meet this twin challenge of innovative production routes and product improvement.

Improved gene therapy strategies, drug delivery vehicles, biosensors, molecular gates and switches and control in microfluidics [14] are other areas that constitute an exciting interface between polymer chemists and white biotechnology.

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