Widely used as a protective agent in cosmetics, squalane is the saturated form of squalene and is traditionally made using olive oil distillates or with the liver oil of deep sea sharks.
The non-greasy emollient and moisturising ingredient can quickly penetrate the skin and has a silky skin feel in cosmetic formulations.
Converting Biofene to squalane
US-based Amyris uses industrial synthetic biology to design micro-organisms to produce defined molecules. Its renewable farnesene molecule Biofene, which forms the basis for many chemical applications, will be converted into squalane marketed by Soliance, expanding Amyris’ portfolio in the cosmetics market.
The production of squalane in this way has several advantages of traditional methods, according to the parties involved.
Olive oil -derived squalane can fluctuate in price and be subject to availability issues due to its relationship with edible oil, and its shark-derived counterpart remains controversial.
“Amyris’s ability to design yeast to produce renewable squalane offers a new opportunity for bio-sourced cosmetic ingredients with two distinct value propositions for our customers: sourcing from sustainable material and providing steady supply,” said Soliance’s general manager, Frederique Lafosse.
Intention to expand production
At this stage, Biofene is currently being manufactured by Soliance at its industrial fermentation facilities using the biotech process of Amyris; it was said in a statement.
The companies also expected to produce Biofene in Brazil, where Amyris currently has production facilities, with the possibility of also manufacturing in additional sites in Europe.
The expected production volume was not disclosed, and neither company was available for comment at the time of publication. Profits from the venture will be shared equally between Soliance and Amyris.