The Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES), a research institute of The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), officially opened its Metabolic Engineering Research Laboratory (MERL) in Biopolis today. The new laboratory will design and engineer microbial cellular factories (Escherichia coli and yeast based) capable of cost-effectively producing high value chemicals from agricultural waste.
By creating new technologies and know-how, the laboratory will develop new strategies and applications for efficient biomass utilisation. It will also focus on developing new computational and experimental approaches for synthetic biology and metabolic engineering applications to accelerate the engineering of the cellular factories.2. The development of a bio-economy based on renewable plant biomass has emerged as a key priority for many countries; by 2015, the global biorenewable chemicals market is estimated at US $6.8 billion. The fast growing biorenewable chemicals industry not only represents a shift as the traditional petrochemical industry re-invents itself in the light of a carbon-constrained future, but it offers a valuable economic opportunity for Singapore to renew its chemical industry and maintain its advantage as a leading chemical hub in the region.
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