DuPont, with joint development partner Genencor International, developed a bio-based method that uses renewable resources instead of typical petrochemicals. Through metabolic engineering of biochemical pathways, a microorganism was engineered to use sugars from corn and corn biomass in a fermentation-based process.
From annually renewable agricultural products, DuPont can now produce 1,3 propanediol (PDO), the key building block for DuPont Sorona.
Currently, DuPont uses a petrochemical process in Kinston, N.C., to produce the Sorona polymer. The company expects to announce transition plans to the new bio-based process later this year.