Plastic, gasoline, rubber - a lot of everyday items are based on oil. But as this raw material is becoming increasingly scarce, scientists now plan to produce isobutene - a basic compound used in the chemical industry made from sugar. Isobutene is used to produce fuels, solvents, elastomers or even antiknock agents in fuel.Sugar as a raw material has a big advantage over oil - it grows back. In the pilot plant at the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes (CBP) in Germany, researchers now want to obtain isobutene from sugar instead of oil for the first time.In order not to threaten food supplies, in the long term, the sugar should come from wood or straw and not from sugar beet, they plan. "The sugar we use is thus totally independent of food production," explained Gerd Unkelbach, director of CBP.The researchers introduced the unique metabolic conversion of sugar to isobutene into a microorganism. If sugar is added to this microorganism, it "digests" it and gaseous isobutene comes out. Researchers would present these new findings at the Hannover Messe trade fair - the world's biggest industrial fair - in Germany in April.
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