A potential carcinogen found in 20% of US drinking water has been removed thanks to newly adapted microbes that eat it up and spew out water and carbon dioxide instead.
New product, Alonia 1,4 d-stroyTMAnnounced today in SynBioBeta 2023.
Alonia 1,4 d-stroyTM A company dedicated to extracting value from waste – Allonnia is a microbe that has been adapted to break down 1,4-dioxane.
The ‘forever chemical’ – so-called because it does not readily break down in the environment – is a by-product of industrial chemical processing.
The US Environmental Protection Agency lists it as one of the most prevalent emerging pollutants and a probable human carcinogen.
18 US states have already moved to regulate it, and the European Chemicals Agency has added it to its candidate list of hazardous chemicals in 2021 due to “potentially serious effects on human health and the environment”.
“The world has long been aware of the environmental and health risks associated with widespread chemicals such as 1,4-dioxane,” said Kent Sorenson, Alonia’s chief technology officer.
“Alonia 1,4 d-stroyTM A natural solution to removing one of the most prevalent emerging contaminants from the drinking water that millions of people rely on every day.”
A nature-based solution for bioremediation
Allonnia is part of a growing number of start-ups I’ve written about recently that have been incubated by Firmant, a company building studio that uses Ginkgo Bioworks’ “iOS of Synthetic Biology” to power new and useful products. “Takes advantage of the platform.
At SynBioBeta, Alonia CEO Nicole Richards will discuss their ongoing bioremediation work and the process of scaling up biotech solutions like 1,4D-Stroy from petri dish to commercial product.
He explained to me recently that Elonia’s trick is to find microbes in places where chemicals are always highly concentrated and then supercharge their ability to digest them using synthetic biology.
“We mostly start with a basic organism that would survive in an environment that has an affinity for doing a job,” Richards said.
“Then we take it to engineering and make this organism do that job ten times better than no one has heard before. We can do some amazing things.”
finding value in garbage
Alonia’s solution is distributed onsite via a portable, 18-liter, stainless steel dispersion vessel, where precise doses of the microbes mix with 1,4-dioxane and render it harmless.
A pilot program between Alonia and engineering firm Stantec
This is the second product to be released from Alonia’s portfolio that targets forever chemicals. The second is Surface Active Foam Fractionation (SAFF®), which uses a combination of aeration and vacuum to ‘foam out’ 99% of PFAS molecules in water.
These are set to be joined by eight other products by 2030, including microbes that can remove heavy metal waste from mining.
“We’ve really narrowed down on mining sustainability, emerging pollutants and plastics upcycling,” Richards said.
“They’re hard stability problems to solve, but there’s great potential for biology to solve them. And there’s value in those solutions.”
One analysis shows that the global bioremediation market will exceed $33 billion by 2032. Another estimate suggests a market value of $186 billion already in 2023.
“We see an increased government focus on environmental solutions and technologies,” said Chuck Price, Allonnia’s Chief Commercial Officer.
“Regulators and government officials can now consider such solutions when passing environmental legislation or evaluating 1,4-dioxin limits, and private companies can reduce potential liabilities from contaminated water through an easy-to-use, natural solution.” can reduce.”
Thanks to Peter Bickerton for additional research and reporting on this article. I am the founder of SynBioBeta and some of the companies I write about, including Allonnia, are its sponsors. SynBioBeta Conference, For more content, you can subscribe my weekly newsletter,