Building blocks are chemical molecules with multiple functional groups that through transformation can be a source for a wide variety of useful chemicals and synthesis pathways. In 2004, a study from the Biomass Program of the U. S. Department of Energy (DoE) created the 'Top Value Added Chemicals from Biomass' in which twelve chemical building blocks originating from sugar were identified -see Figure 12.6. This detailed report also gives a comprehensive overview regarding potential conversion pathways from these 12 bio-based building blocks to a number of high value added chemicals and/or materials.
For instance, the C3 chemical building block 3- HP has potential in both the commodity and specialty chemical sector. Many products including PDO, acrylic acid, methyl acrylate, acrylamide could be derived from 3- HP. Furthermore, the basic chemistry of 3-HP is not represented by the current petrochemical industry. Major technical hurdles for its success include the development of high yielding organisms with a potentially low-cost fermentation route .
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