Organic compounds containing F (fluorochemicals) are extremely relevant from an industrial point of view. Fluoropolymers are the main fluorochemicals in the market worldwide and are exclusively synthesized using chemical methods. Moreover, current fluorination technologies usually involve corrosive and toxic reagents that have a negative impact on the environment. Designing sustainable bioprocesses based on alternative and safer fluorinating agents from renewable substrates is thus a still unfulfilled goal.

SinFonia (Synthetic biology-guided engineering of Pseudomonas putida for biofluorination) is coordinated by Dr Pablo Nikel from The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (DTU Biosustain) and proposes to engineer the metabolically versatile bacterium Pseudomonas putida to execute biofluorinations for generating novel fluoropolymers from renewable substrates. SinFonia will exploit natural selection to enhance bioproduction through a smart strain engineering approach in which bacterial growth will be coupled to biofluorination. Target compounds are a whole family of fluorinated polyesters (including fluorinated PHAs) with enhanced physicochemical and material properties, with applications in self-cleaning surfaces, low-surface-energy coatings, bio-based lubricants, membranes for fuel cells, and anti-fouling materials.

In-depth analysis of all the environmental and economic benefits of the new fluorination technology, and interactive communication of social benefits associated with target products, are essential components of the SinFonia project.

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