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Track 3 Session Details

AFCC Conference Breakout Sessions

Breakout Sessions are 90 minutes, each one has one moderator with a maximum of four to five speakerss.


Breakout sessions will be focused on the following five subject areas:



Track 3 Breakout Session Details

Renewable Specialty Chemicals

This Track is Sponsored by:

Monday, November 13, 2023

All sessions for this Track will be held in Baltimore 3

​Session 1: 8:00 AM to 9:30 AM: Sustainable Supply Chain Strategies and Management for Manufacturers

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Moderator: Andy Shafer, Strategist, Shafer’s Innovation Business Building Service


Companies in the bio-based products sector are pursuing a range of business models and technical approaches, including both biological and chemical conversion of bio-based feedstocks, and are at various stages in their life cycles. This panel will feature firms illustrating a variety of these approaches at varying stages of maturity, with focus on the varying opportunities and challenges faced.

Lana Culbert, Senior Director Global Marketing, Kraton Corporation

Kraton SYLVASOLV™ Biobased Oils - Aligning Sustainability with High-Performance Innovation

As the world's largest producer of pine chemicals, and with nearly 100 years of biorefinery experience, Kraton is a global forerunner in the bioeconomy. Our materials are used in thousands of everyday products that enhance lives worldwide. We are a participant in the USDA BioPreferred® Program, for our biobased products to be identified. Our EcoVadis Platinum rating solidifies Kraton’s position as a trusted, sustainable supplier as we continue to provide solutions that enable the circular economy. At Kraton, our commitment is also about developing new innovative solutions that advance the sustainability of our customers’ products and applications. Introducing SYLVASOLV biobased oils, a Kraton product innovation that enables safer handling and provides unparalleled performance and sustainability benefits across diverse industries. Leveraging the unique properties of pine chemistry, these 100% biobased oils offer high solvency power and excellent lubrication properties. Moreover, they exhibit superior cold temperature properties, making them ideal for various product formulations. Sourced from responsibly managed pine forests and benefitting from the Kraft pulp industrial symbiosis derived from the Kraft pulp industry, these bio-oils do not require land-use change, are non-food sourced and are non-GMO. SYLVASOLV oils have many applications, including cleaning solvents, coatings, fertilizer coatings, defoamers, and lubricants. Kraton is committed to do our part to promote and protect the sustainability of our planet. We look forward to share more about how our Sylvasolv biobased oils are part of the solution.


Frederyk Ngantung, Chief Commercial Officer, Syzygy Plasmonics

Using light and RNG to lower the carbon signature in chemicals and fuels

Photocatalytic dry methane reforming uses light instead of combustion to produce syngas from methane and CO2. When utilizing renewable natural gas and renewable electricity, this new method enables the production of intensely carbon-negative syngas, helping decarbonize chemicals and fuels. The technology was first introduced in the journal Nature in January 2020 in a paper titled, “Light-driven methane dry reforming with single atomic site antenna-reactor plasmonic photocatalysts,”, and has since been repeated and further tested by Rice University and Syzygy Plasmonics. As the technology nears commercialization, it offers a pathway for using biogas to produce chemicals and fuels from carbon-negative syngas, helping create a cleaner, more sustainable planet.

Session 2: 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM: Sustainable Cosmetics and Personal Care Ingredients

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Moderator: Carolyn Fitz, President, Sage BioAdvisors



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Patrick Foley 
Chief Scientific Officer

P2 Science

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Amanda Hildebrand

VP of Fermentation

Exopolymer Inc

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Erika Milczek

Curie Co.


Basudeb Saha


Patrick Foley, Chief Scientific Officer, P2 Science
Green Chemistry Driven Performance

Cosmetics and personal care ingredients are being held to ever higher standards by regulators, formulators, and consumers alike. With these increasing expectations come opportunities for innovation in the field of green chemistry. Green chemistry drives performance and creates solutions that can deliver benefits to all stakeholders. Over the past 10+ years, P2 has developed, patented, scaled, and brought to market multiple new technologies in this field, and are set to continue to lead into the 21st century. Highlighted will be 2 key platforms - PIOzTM and PICETM - that give rise to key new materials such as the CitropolTM line of cosmetic polymers, and illustrate the potential of this approach


Erika M. Milczek, CEO, Curie Co.

Directed Evolution of Enzymes for Antimicrobial Applications

Regulatory authorities and retailers are aggressively restricting the use antimicrobial chemicals found in consumer products and industrial processes. Specifically, these bans are targeting antimicrobial chemicals that have deleterious effects on the environment and human health. Major retailers have followed suit by further banning numerous preservatives and biocides commonly used in consumer products. Manufacturers have few alternatives to these legacy chemicals, which are readily found in paints, personal care products, and household cleaning products. Curie Co has developed a suite of tools to rapidly evolve enzymes to deliver aseptilase activity to displace legacy antimicrobial chemicals. Development of these tools addresses a gap in currentErika M. Milczek, PhD Curie Co methodology by providing a toolbox for the rapid expression and selection of antimicrobial proteins and enzymes that are not readily produced using microbial fermentation. Enzymes are catalytic, evolvable, and biodegradable, which provides a cost effective and environmentally benign replacement for antimicrobial chemicals.

Basudeb Saha, CEO, RiKarbon

Biomass derived Green Emollient for Cosmetic Formulation

Emollient is used in various cosmetics to solubilize emulsifiers in water-oil emulsions to provide desired aesthetic and efficacy in terms of its spreadability and a feel for dry, shiny, silky and talc. The chemistry of emollient, and their application in cosmetics formulation have evolved over the years. One of the noticeable changes is the widespread use of cyclic silicones. While these cyclic compounds serve the most needs of cosmetic products formulation, they have been highly scrutinized in recent years for their safety and bio-accumulation concerns, and their use in most wash-off cosmetics is regulated and restricted. In addition, generations X and Z consumers’ preference for natural, non-silicon clean beauty products has increased over the last decade. As a result, alternative non-silicon ingredients such as various ester compounds and others have been looked into by cosmetics manufacturers and formulators. However, most of these alternative ingredients are not derived from biomass raw materials, and especially not from non-food, and sustainable, typically waste raw materials. Most ester compounds have inferior performance and stability. RiKarbon’s UpSycal emollients comprised of up to 100% biobased and upcycled carbon, sourced from agricultural waste materials/non-edible feedstock, and are manufactured with Green Chemistry principles. This squalane-like product line can be viewed as a biobased alternative to silicone compounds, petroleum-derived hydrocarbons and esters allowing the formulation of more natural, sustainable, stable, and label-friendly cosmetics with aesthetics, safety, and performance. This presentation will highlight UpSycal emollient’s features, formulation and sustainability data.

Session 3: 1:30 PM to 3 PM: Biotech and the ESG Missions of Brand Owners

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Moderator: Rebecca Coons, Executive Editor, Industrial Biotechnology Journal


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Paul Dyer

Professor of Fungal Biology

University of Nottingham

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Kevin Jarrell


Modular Genetics, Inc.

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Mark Knitowski

President Fragrance Product Innovation

E2E Beauty Consulting

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Christian Lenges

Venture Director

International Flavors & Fragrances

In today’s world, there’s a triple bottom-line: People, Planet and Prosperity. Brand owners must create value for their shareholders, while implementing sound Environment, Social & Governance plans. What role can biotechnology play? How can biotechnology companies deliver products and processes that enable brand owners to achieve their ESG missions? The answer is complex and varies from one sector to another. In this panel, biotech companies will describe their approach to developing more sustainable ingredients for products that we each use in our daily lives. For example, personal care and home care products. In addition, product formulators will offer perspective on areas where biotech might have the greatest positive impact.


Christian Lenges, Venture Director, International Flavors & Fragrances

Sustainable solutions that Transform Consumers’ Lives and Experiences: Biotechnology in Sustainable Material Innovation

International Flavors and Fragrances is a leading creator, innovator and manufacturer for food, beverage, health & biosciences, scent and pharma solutions markets. This includes the development and supply of cosmetic active and natural health ingredients used in a wide variety of consumer products. IFF products are sold globally to manufacturers of dairy, meat, beverages, snacks, savory, sweet, baked goods and other foods. In addition, IFF is serving the specialty product markets in personal and home care such as soaps and detergents, cleaning products, perfumes and cosmetics. Emerging and growing categories such as dietary supplements, and functional foods as well as pharmaceutical and oral care products. Leveraging innovation across these market and product categories is driving sustainable growth and biotechnology takes center stage as enabling platform technology. Creating a better world at IFF means understanding how we can leverage our business, our performance and our partners to Do More Good for people and planet. Overall, momentum is building for a transition to inherently more sustainable product and material choices manufactured in processes with reduced impact but without compromising product performance expected by consumers. This is driving the continued need for material and product innovation which is enabled through the circular bioeconomy and is designed to avoid undesired end-of-life characteristics. This presentation will highlight efforts at IFF to take biotechnology driven material innovation to scale through biomanufacturing starting from fungible plant sugars for tailored high performance materials that facilitate the transition to a more sustainable fossil free economy.

Session 4: 3:30 PM to 5 PM: New Biobased Product Alternatives for Industrial Applications

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Moderator: Brent Aufdembrink, Applications Technical Director, Cargill


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William Armiger


BioChemInsights, Inc.

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Tom Beardslee


Rynetech Bio

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David Demirjian

President Midwest Bioprocessing Center and President & CEO zuChem Inc

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Amir Mahmoudkhani

VP of R&D and Innovation

Locus Fermentation Solutions

Biotechnology is increasingly emerging as a game-changer in various industries, including personal care, materials, textiles, plastics, polymers, and other industrial sectors, by offering innovative solutions to produce new, sustainably produced ingredients that can replace petroleum-based products. In personal care, biotech applications have facilitated the development of bioactive compounds, enzymes, and microbial-derived substances that enhance the efficacy and sustainability of skincare products. These advancements have significantly reduced environmental impact and opened possibilities for eco-friendly manufacturing. This session will focus on strategies and advances to produce these biobased as well as commercialization challenges and opportunities for these products.


Tom Beardslee, CEO, Rynetech Bio

A new Fermentation Platform for the Production of Terpenes from Fatty Acid Feedstock

Terpenes are a large class of molecules with a range of properties making them useful products as fragrances, flavors, nutraceuticals, food colorants, and antioxidants. Many are produced by plants however are often present at very low concentrations making it too expensive to purify them from their native source. Some terpenes have been produced by precision fermentation previously, however many other attempts have suffered from low titers and yields. Rynetech Bio has built a platform technology for terpene production from fatty acid feedstocks using a nontraditional yeast. The first demonstration of the platform has been performed with carotenoids which are 40-carbon terpenes known for their bright colors and antioxidant properties (lycopene, beta-carotene, astaxanthin). The global carotenoid market is approximately $1.5B with applications in nutraceuticals, personal care, animal feed, and food additives. Large volume carotenoids are produced from fossil-based sources by chemical synthesis while specialty carotenoids may be purified from their native source. The Rynetech Bio platform produces carotenoids from feedstocks that are renewable, and potentially inexpensive waste streams, as well as using less land and water than purification from agricultural crops. Five carotenoids have been produced at commercial titers derived from engineered platform strains that can be alternately engineered for other terpenes in the future. This presentation will update current progress and explain advantages of using fatty acid feedstocks for terpene production.


Amir Mahmoudkhani, VP of R&D and Innovation, Locus Fermentation Solutions

Production of Biosurfactants from Biofuel Waste Streams: Improving Sustainability and Supply Chain

Significant focus has been given recently to the environmental impacts caused by synthetic petroleum-based surfactants due to their toxicity issues and difficulty in being degraded in the environment. Increasing environmental concerns and the emergence of more stringent laws have led to bio-based surfactants including biosurfactants becoming a potential alternative to the conventional chemical surfactants available on the market. Although biosurfactants have been known for several years to be promising for use in bioremediation processes, their industrial scale production had previously been difficult due to high processing costs and low manufacturing output (yields). With advancements in fermentation techniques, these problems have been addressed and viable quantities of biosurfactants now able to be produced at costs comparable or even more attractive to traditional synthetic surfactants. Biosurfactants combine green chemistry and a lower carbon footprint without the undesirable by-products or environmental downsides associated with many market reference surfactants. Local production would significantly reduce product transportation costs and would allow to use grown carbohydrate and fatty acids derived from agricultural production or other waste streams to be utilized making this a 100% locally sourced and manufactured product, creating approximately 20 new jobs per modular unit plant. Glycolipids are among the largest, most interesting and investigated groups of biosurfactants to date due to their higher fermentation yields and versatility in applications from their unique and advantageous physicochemical properties compared to their synthetic counterparts.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023
All sessions for this Track will be held in Baltimore 3

​Session 5: 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM: Opportunities and Challenges in Bio-based Products

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Moderator: James Barber, Independent Management Consulting Professional


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Aaron Fitzgerald


Mars Materials

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Derek Greenfield

Founder & President

Industrial Microbes, Inc.

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Darcy Prather


Kalion, Inc.

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John Shaw


Itaconix, Inc.

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Eric Steen


Lygos, Inc.

Companies in the bio-based products sector are pursuing a range of business models and technical approaches, including both biological and chemical conversion of bio-based feedstocks, and are at various stages in their life cycles. This panel will feature firms illustrating a variety of these approaches at varying stages of maturity, with focus on the varying opportunities and challenges faced.

​Session 6: 3:30 PM to 5 PM : Enzymolysis and Fermentation Trends to New Renewable Chemicals

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Moderator:  James LaMarta, Principal Consultant, Splitrock Regulatory Solutions


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Ken Barrett

Chief Business Officer


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Deepak Dugar

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Mark Johnson
External Affairs Lead
Liberation Labs

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Toni Lee
Senior Director of Enzymology Solugen

The latest fermentation processes in protein engineering and site-directed evolution have enabled tailor-made enzymes with new activities and/or for new process conditions leading to highly diversified products. Some newer areas for enzyme applications and fermentation trends are presented in this session – whether it be for production of cleaning solvents for commodity applications to high value and low volume applications.


Ken Barrett, Chief Business Officer, Arzeda

Intelligent Protein Design™ Technology

The need for biobased, renewable chemicals has never been greater, or more urgent. According to the OECD, plastics pollution has more than doubled the past decade, and now exceeds 460 million tons per year.  The vast majority of this is virgin material made from fossil fuels, which means the world is pulling more carbon out of the ground, rather than creating a carbon sink.  In addition, most of these plastics are not recycled and are not biodegradable.  Bold solutions are needed now.


Arzeda has been leveraging our Intelligent Protein Design™ Technology to harness the power of AI, computational protein design and synthetic biology to develop new materials.  We have developed cost-effective routes for bio-based FDCA, and the world’s first bio-based acylate (Bio-MBL™).  Other products in our portfolio include the next generation of bio-based, biodegradable performance materials with a world leader in advanced materials, WL Gore & Associates, makers of Gore-Tex™.  This presentation will focus on how we utilized our Intelligent Protein Design™ Technology to make these advances.  We will also explore how the power of generative AI, coupled with core protein domain know-how and experimental data, can transform our “Material World” towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.

Deepak Dugar, CEO, Visolis

Bio-based Production of Monomers for High Performance Polymers

Visolis is developing bio-based processes for production of carbon-negative, high-performance polymers and sustainable aviation fuels to replace petroleum based processes. The shift in the production of ethylene from naphtha to natural gas liquids (which does not produce C4-C6 by-products) has led to supply shocks and rising C4-C6 chemicals prices. Furthermore, these processes remain extremely energy intensive and reliant on fossil sources. Our process enables cost competitive production of bio-based elastomers, polyols, polyester resins, super adsorbent polymers, and other products using a variety of feedstocks like agri-residues, dextrose, glycerol and syn-gas. The high-yield process is a platform technology based on engineered microbes coupled with efficient processing. Furthermore, flexibility in the production process allows for rapid changes in the product mix in response to volatile market conditions reducing commercial risk much like a modern petroleum refinery. The Visolis process would reduce the production cost of various products by 20-40% relative to the petroleum-based equivalent, while reducing process greenhouse gas emissions by 70%. As a bio-based process, our technology uses the photosynthetic capability of plants to fix CO2 into structural materials that can sequester carbon for decades. Resin applications alone represent a carbon sink potential of over 200 million tons CO2e, equivalent to planting 2 billion trees.


Lewis Dutel, CEO, Via Biofuels

Decarbonizing the BTX Infrastructure

VIA specializes in producing a synthetic aromatic, 3-Methylanisole (3-MA). VIA is one of the only synthetic biotechnology companies capable of producing a scalable, biosourced aromatic of high purity. Synthetic 3-MA can be used as a feedstock to produce high value compounds such as Methylcyclohexane(MCH) and Toluene. Biosourced Toluene provides a route to decarbonize the existing BTX infrastructure. 3-MA, MCH and Toluene are energy dense molecules that can be used today in renewable transportation fuels with blend concentrations as high as 85%. Utilizing a proprietary, engineered S. cerevisiae yeast strain, feedstocks such as starch, sugar and cellulosic sugars are efficiently converted into this valuable aromatic. VIA’s 3-MA commercial strategy is to leverage production through the existing S. cerevisiae based Ethanol infrastructure. 3-MA is a highly hydrophobic molecule. This hydrophobicity causes the 3-MA molecules to volatilize from the broth during the fermentation process. This mechanism provides an opportunity to “capture” the volatilized 3-MA as a continuous process during fermentation. Capturing 3-MA in process produces a high purity product and eliminates the energy intensive downstream distillation steps required for Ethanol manufacture. It also eliminates the toxicity factor associated with batch fermentation and allows 3-MA to be produced in in large volumes in both fed batch fermentation and “continuous fermentation” processes. These process technology advantages build a strong business case for the widespread commercialization of aromatic 3-MA.


Mark Johnson, External Affairs Lead, Liberation Labs

Importance of Scale Up of Precision Fermentation

Liberation Labs was formed to address the growing fermentation capacity gap in cellular agriculture by providing the industry with the infrastructure to commercialize novel protein manufacturing at the scale and cost structure required by the market. Specifically, Liberation Labs is developing a global network of fit-for-purpose precision fermentation facilities located in the geographies that will drive market access for novel protein companies to commercially succeed, enabling them to achieve price parity with animal proteins.

Toni Lee, Senior Director of Enzymology, Solugen

The First Carbon-Negative Molecule Factory That Can Scale to Meet the World’s Needs

Synthetic biology holds the promise to revolutionize how we make chemicals, ingredients, and materials. But global scale manufacturing remains the largest impediment to realizing this revolution. Solugen was founded in 2016 to scale synthetic biology and decarbonize chemical manufacturing. By combining the best elements of fermentation with the best elements of petrochemical processing, we have created a unique carbon-negative molecular manufacturing platform: the Bioforge™. Leveraging the power of AI, the technology uses highly engineered enzymes together with heterogeneous metal catalysts under mild conditions that enable the use of safe biobased feedstocks such as sugar, air, and carbon dioxide. Solugen’s chemi-enzymatic processes achieve extremely high selectivities, throughputs, and yields. This eliminates the need for expensive carbon-intensive downstream separations and enables the modular construction of relatively small highly profitable manufacturing plants. In this presentation we will discuss the fundamental science and engineering underpinning the Bioforge™ platform, as well as case studies of Solugen products and their applications. Our first plant, Bioforge™ One, has been operational for over two years. At 10,000 tpy capacity, it is the first manufacturing plant permitted in Houston without wastewater discharge or greenhouse gas emissions. We are currently expanding the capacity of the plant in Houston while building additional plants to meet customer demand. We envision a future where a global network of modular and fully automated Bioforges™ enables the safe, local, and carbon negative manufacturing of the molecules, ingredients, and materials that we use every day.

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