zuChem Receives Patent for Fermentative Production of Xylitol

Published: Jun 29, 2011

Chicago, IL (June 29, 2011) - zuChem Inc., an innovative supplier of specialized sugars for the food ingredients and fine chemicals industries, today announced that the United States Patent and Trademark office has issued patent #7,960,152 B2 entitled “Methods for Production of Xylitol in Microorganisms”. The technology was developed by zuChem in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service’s National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research and the Biotechnology Research and Development Corporation (BRDC) under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. zuChem is the exclusive licensee of this patent under its relationship with the BRDC, to whom this patent is assigned. This patent expands zuChem’s extensive portfolio of technology in the area of xylitol production.

Xylitol is a sugar polyol that is in high demand by the food ingredient and confectionary industry. The patent describes novel fermentation systems able to produce xylitol from inexpensive hemicellulose feedstocks – by-products of bioethanol and corn milling operations. Traditionally xylitol is produced from purified D-xylose, which is expensive and in limited supply. By converting waste hemicellulose streams produced by the biofuels industry into more valuable products for the food ingredients industry the economics of manufacturing ethanol and other products can be significantly enhanced.

"We are very pleased by this addition to our intellectual property portfolio on novel biosynthetic production processes of xylitol,” David Demirjian, Ph.D., President and CEO, zuChem. “Currently the production of xylitol is constrained by the limited supply of raw materials. We believe that zuChem's novel bioprocess for the commercial production of xylitol from agricultural biomass removes this constraint and significantly reduces the cost of xylitol production overall in addition to improving biofuel production economics."

Xylitol is a five-carbon polyol that has gained wide acceptance as a natural food sweeter due to its many health benefits. Xylitol is anti-cariogenic, does not cause a significant insulin response, and there is growing evidence that it prevents ear infections in children. Demand, both in the US and worldwide, is rapidly growing for reduced caloric sweeteners such as xylitol, driven by increasingly health and weight conscious consumers.

About zuChem, Inc.

zuChem focuses on commercializing innovative manufacturing processes for unique glycochemicals (varieties of specialized sugars) for the food, fine chemicals and pharmaceutical intermediates industries. Glycochemicals are key components of many drugs and drug candidates as well as many specialty food ingredients. The company is headquartered in Chicago, IL, with research operations in Peoria, IL. For more information on zuChem’s xylitol manufacturing process and the availability of other specialty chemicals, please email info@zuChem.com or call (312) 997-2150.

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