PUNE, India/BERKELEY, CA — Praj Industries Ltd. and Lygos Inc. have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to co-develop Lygos’s proprietary yeast for the production of lactic acid. As part of this MOU, Lygos will provide its proprietary yeast platform to Praj for jointly developing into various solutions for commercial applications.

Praj has already developed and offers bacterial fermentation technology to produce lactic acid and downstream products from sugary feedstock. Lactic acid is also used in food and beverages, in cleaning agents as well as in the electronic industry.  The size of the global lactic acid market was estimated at around $1 billion in 2019.

Lygos will provide its innovative and high-performance technologies, LP1 Ultra™ Yeast Platform and Carbon Sequestration Superhighway™, which are well suited to produce acid compounds.

Praj will assemble other segments of technology, backed up by its expertise in process development, optimization, and design scale-up, to will further integrate lactic acid as a source material in making Bioplastic, a polylactic acid (PLA).

Demand for PLA is estimated at approximately 200, 000 tons per year, which is expected to increase substantially in the near future. PLA can replace single-use plastics and reduce the burden on the waste disposal system. Due to its unique characteristics, PLA offers an improved replacement for many applications. Rising consumer awareness with respect to the need for recyclability, green packaging, and sustainability is driving significant demand globally. Unlike conventional plastic, PLA does not take decades to degrade, and as such, reduces adverse environmental impact.

Eric Steen, CEO of Lygos, said, “We are pleased to partner with Praj and the Praj Matrix team whose deep expertise spans commercialization, engineering, and scale-up, construction and operation of similar industrial processes. This is an exciting time where the world’s demand for sustainable, safe products not produced from toxic petroleum continues to grow. We believe our LP1 Ultra™ platform will complement the Praj team’s goal in the lactic acid marketplace. We look forward to accelerating the technology commercialization through this partnership.”

Both companies will jointly pursue identified commercial opportunities globally to establish a leading position in compostable polymers.

Praj Industries Limited, Pune, India, is an engineering company in the field of industrial biotechnology. The company offers technology solutions globally to produce renewable transportation fuel. Praj’s diverse portfolio includes bio-energy plants, renewable natural gas facilities, critical process equipment and skids, breweries, zero-liquid-discharge plants and high-purity water systems.

Founded in 2011 by leading scientists in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley, Lygos has developed proprietary technology for producing diverse compounds through combined fermentation and chemical transformation. The company features a robust pipeline of multi-functional organic acids, and health and wellness products that offer compelling performance, purity and supply advantages. Lygos has created a full-stack biological engineering platform focused on organic acid specialty chemicals and bio-monomers.