TOKYO—Yokohama Rubber Co. has claimed to have developed "the world's first technology" capable of efficiently producing isoprene from a biomass.
The breakthrough was achieved in a joint research with Japanese research institute Riken and materials supplier Zeon Corp., YRC said in a July 26 statement.
Isoprene is a raw material in the production of synthetic rubber and currently is produced as a by-product of naphtha pyrolysis.
YRC, Riken and Zeon began their joint research in 2013 and discovered a new isoprene-synthesising process using a computer-based in-silico metabolic design technology within two years. The trio further developed the new technology, creating cells with "excellent isoprene-synthesising capability" based on a new artificial pathway and highly active enzymes, Yokohama said.
The cells created through the technology have the in-vivo capability of generating isoprene from a biomass—typically sugar. This serves as the starting material. The in-vivo generated isoprene is then polymerized to achieve the synthesis of polyisoprene rubber.