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Biotech Products for Everyday Consumers

April 25, 2012
What do Coca Cola, Goodyear Tire and United Airlines all have in common? Executives from each company will be speaking on a panel session together at the upcoming BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing. The session will focus on biotech and consumer products.

Some widely used consumer products come from industrial biotechnology processes. Traditionally, many of these products have been made from petroleum, natural gas or petrochemicals. Switching to industrial biotech processes is inherently cleaner, producing fewer byproducts and using less energy lowering the overall impact on the environment.

This past December, Coca Cola announced partnerships with several biotech companies (Virent, Gevo and Avantium) to produce next-generation PlantBottles. Currently, PlantBottle is a packaging approach that replaces up to 30 percent of the PET in bottles with plant-based materials. Heinz ketchup and Odwalla juice are among the companies who already use this packaging for their products. The goal is to eventually create a bottle from 100 percent plant materials, and Coca Cola plans to replace its entire line of plastic bottles with PlantBottles by 2020.

Back in 2008, Goodyear Tire and biotech company Genencor announced a partnership on a research collaboration to develop BioIsoprene. This platform is a technology to produce high quality synthetic rubber largely from renewable raw materials. The result would replace the seven gallons of crude oil required to produce a single passenger tire.

In November, United Airlines launched the first-ever commercial flight run on biofuels.  The flight took off from Houston and landed in Chicago powered by a mix of 40 percent biofuels and 60 percent traditional jet fuel. United worked with Solazyme to produce the algae-based biofuel.

Biotechnology is all around us and is already a big part of our lives, providing breakthrough products and technologies.  Even though we may not recognize it, we see it every day in our homes and workplaces, and everywhere in between. Learn more about everyday products that you use that are now made from industrial biotechnology processes, which benefit you and reduce impact on the environment.