Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology
Journal or Book Title
Most types of ambers are naturally occurring, relatively hard, durable resinite polymers derived from the exudates of trees. This resource has been coveted for thousands of years due to its numerous useful properties in industrial processes, beauty, and purported medicinal properties. Labdane diterpenoid based ambers represent the most abundant and important resinites on earth. These resinites are a dwindling, non-renewable natural resource, so a new source of such materials needs to be established. Recent advances in sequencing technologies and biochemical engineering are rapidly accelerating the rate of identifying and assigning function to genes involved in terpenoid biosynthesis, as well as producing industrial-scale quantities of desired small-molecules in bacteria and yeast. This has provided new tools for engineering metabolic pathways capable of producing diterpenoid monomers that will enable the production of custom-tailored resinite-like polymers. Furthermore, this biosynthetic toolbox is continuously expanding, providing new possibilities for renewing dwindling stocks of naturally occurring resinite materials and engineering new materials for future applications.
Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Hillwig, Matthew L.; Mann, Francis M.; and Peters, Reuben J., "Diterpenoid biopolymers: New directions for renewable materials engineering" (2011). Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology Publications. 102.