KAUST scientists use synthetic biology and green chemistry to synthesize popular fragrances

10 March, 2024

Scientists at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) report a new synthetic biology process that follows the principles of green chemistry. The study offers an alternative process for the $44 billion perfume industry that avoids razing trees in environmentally sensitive regions.   

Many of the world's most popular fragrant resins used in perfumes, essential oils and incense, including those in Saudi Arabia, come from agarwood, the wood derived from a family of trees mostly found in Southeast Asia. The only natural way to acquire these chemicals is by wounding the trees, and the high demand for these products has put many tree species at risk of extinction. 

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