The introduction of economic production processes for 1,3-propanediol is a success story for the creation of a new market for a (bulk) chemical. The compound and its favorable properties have long been known; also the fermentation of glycerol to 1,3-propanediol had been described more than 120 years ago. Nevertheless, the product remained a specialty chemical until recently, when two new processes were introduced, providing 1,3-propanediol at a competitive price. Remarkably, one of the processes is in the field of white biotechnology and based on microbial fermentation, converting a renewable carbon source into a bulk chemical. This review covers the most important patents that led to the commercialization of bio-based 1,3-propanediol. Furthermore, some of the recent developments towards a sustainable industry are addressed. Similar questions arise for a variety of products if they are to be produced bio-based in large scale. However, special emphasis is given to 1,3- propanediol production.
Keywords: 1,3-Propanediol, industrial microbiology, biorefinery, white biotechnology, bulk chemical, bio-based polymer, reducing power
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