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Biological Production of Muconic Acid in Plants

Stage: Prototype

Researchers at Berkeley Lab’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed plant-based production of the chemical muconic acid (MA), an intermediate that can be easily converted to both adipic acid and terephatalate used in nylons, coatings and plastics industries.

The JBEI researchers identified several routes for heterologous expression of muconic acid. The most successful pathway produced average yields of over 250 ug/g fresh weight muconic acid.

The production process for adipic acid, used to synthesize nylons, coatings and plastics, involves toxic chemical intermediates and generates greenhouse gases. Therefore, sustainable production of muconic acid as a bio-precursor for adipic acid is a desirable alternative for chemical companies and the polymer industry.

Applications and Industries

  • Sustainable production of muconic acid, a precursor for industrial chemicals of interest


  • More efficient, eco-friendly, and sustainable than previous methods
  • Reduces production costs
  • Decreases dependence on current practices that are heavily reliant on petroleum feedstocks