The production of orange juice leaves large amounts of orange peels. They are processed into an essential oil which contains (+)-limonene as major component. Every year about 50,000 bis 75,000 tons of this hydrocarbon accumulate in the citrus processing industry. Up to now it is regarded as residue and rarely used for the synthesis of valuable products.
Industrial biotechnology unlocks the potential of enzymes and microorganisms for targeted conversions based on renewable resources, replacing chemical syntheses. Solvent-tolerant bacteria allow the efficient conversion of (+)-limonene into valuable bioactives in an efficient bioprocess. A prominent example is the synthesis of antimicrobial perillic acid from (+)-limonene.
Perillic acid is a promising candidate for the application in cosmetics. A well known german biotech company is tackling the industrial implementation of our process. Quality control of the biotechnologically produced bioactive and its efficient production on technical scale are of utmost importance.
An innovative contribution for economy