Economics of Vanillin Production by Natural Processes
(Can and Will Vanillin from a Natural Source Become as Inexpensive as the Synthetic One?)
Dr. Ivica Labuda
Georgetown University / Biokeys for Flavors, LLC.
Processes for producing bio-vanillin can utilize a variety of natural materials such as ferulic acid, lignin, eugenol, isoeugenol, etc. Of these, ferulic acid has been a long-time favorite precursor, first thanks to its abundance in nature, and second because of its low toxicity to the microorganisms involved in the conversion. As a result, ferulic acid based fermentation/bioconversion processes have been the most economically viable options for producing natural bio-vanillin. Today, synthetic biology offers the promise of producing vanillin from glucose by cloning the entire phenylpropanoid pathway into yeasts such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We will compare the yields for these different approaches. We will stress the importance of efficient vanillin recovery, and of the costs associated with downstream processing. This leads to the main questions: does bio-vanillin have the opportunity to become as inexpensive as its synthetic cousin?
Dr. Ivica M. Labuda has twenty-three years of research and management experience in food and flavor ingredients industry with a strong reputation for results. Ivica brings together the technical expertise in flavors, biochemistry, microbial physiology, food safety, biotechnology and fermentations for product discovery, secondary metabolites, research and development in the area of unique flavor and bioactive ingredients.
Ivica Labuda’s graduate, post-graduate studies and research were done at Institute of Biochemistry, Komensky University, Bratislava, Slovakia, at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ and at University of Graz, Austria. Ivica’s experience in industry started at Kraft Foods, continued at Givaudan, Danisco/Cultor and as a Senior Manager at Pepsi-Cola. Besides leading Biokeys as president, she is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University teaching courses on Food Biotechnology, International Biotechnology and Fermentation technology.
Dr. Labuda’s research was published in 24 peer-review publications and described in 13 patents. Key patents include processes for the production of natural vanillin and nootkatone. She was an invited speaker at conferences such as the Gordon Conference, Wuerman Symposium, ASM, SIM, ACCS and ACS.