Why cannabinoids are synbio’s next big market

One of the biggest challenges facing medicinal cannabinoids is the growth of the plant itself — and extraction of pure cannabinoids from the plant in consistently high amounts. There are over 100 known cannabinoids, and we don’t know what most of them do. They can be present in the plant at such low amounts that extracting them in any useful amount is impossible.

Plants also need space to grow, and cannabis farmers face dwindling arable land as any farmer in the U.S. — or the world — does. Many have turned to indoor cultivation, but even then, only 4-6 harvests per year are possible. And, purifying cannabinoids and resins from the plants is costly and unsustainable. The THC content can also vary across harvests — not necessarily critical for recreational users, but a potentially significant problem for patients who rely on specific daily doses.

So, how to solve these issues? The answer shouldn’t come as a surprise, for it’s solved similar challenges for other food ingredients, such as steviol glycosidesfrom the Stevia plant.

The answer is microbes.

Read more at SynBioBeta (Embriette Hyde)

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