Science News 07/11/2011

The 25 most disruptive biotechnology technologies

The developments have the potential to change the direction of the industry over the next decade

According to the study, the number one disruptive technology is mining for lignocellulolytic enzymes. Progress in molecular tools and in the field of metagenomics offers the potential to explore a vast untapped microbial biodiversity and to find new enzymes with higher catalytic activity and stability. An increased variety of enzymes will provide new tools to hydrolyse more effectively a wider range of lignocellulosic substrates into valuable products across an extended range of process conditions. Sustained research and inter-disciplinary collaboration is needed to tackle the massive task of mining each target ecosystem.

More than 250 technologies were assessed and validated before the top 25 were confirmed. Candidate technologies were considered by a panel of 15 industry experts and ranked according to their score. Scoring included an impact rating and average success probability rating for each technology.

According to the study, the industry will see bio-based products produced at a more competitive production cost than currently possible. There will also be a widening in the range of bio-based products that can compete with the petrochemically-derived counterparts without subsidies or incentives:

Other forecasts include:

- Bio-based plastics will grow 20% / year until 2021
- Bio-energy heat and power generation will grow at 7%/year
- Biofuel production will see 7% a year growth until 2021
- Overall sales of bio-based products in the chemical industry grow 10%/year
- Five major bio-based building blocks for the chemical industry reach the market with cost on par with their chemical alternatives/competitors

Speaking at the study launch, publisher Adam Page said: "The industrial biotechnology industry is set for more than 400% growth over the next five years, and will revolutionise many businesses including raw materials, energy, automotive and consumer products. The commercialisation of these technological breakthroughs will rapidly change many established industries for good, which is why it is so important to identify and track these disruptive innovations as they happen."

Based on extensive primary research including input from a panel of 15 industry experts, Ten-year Forecast of Disruptive Technologies in Industrial Biotechnology to 2021 identifies and profiles the top 25 technologies most likely to impact on the market over the next ten years. In addition it provides scenarios and forecasts for the industry over the next ten years, and in-depth technology and market evaluation.

di S. C.