Genomatica Demonstrates the Power of Biotech as Sustainability Remains a Top Priority in Pandemic Year Three

Kyle Huston, Product Director

How has the pandemic affected consumers’ views toward sustainability today?           
SOFW asked Genomatica this question almost exactly one year ago, not anticipating another year of pandemic. (to view Genomatica’s previous answer to this question, click here)

The Covid-19 pandemic has continued to expose how human health is dependent on planetary health and both the fragility and resilience of our ever-changing world. Climate action is increasingly critical to ensure we’re working toward creating just solutions for a habitable future planet. As local and international policy calls for climate action, communities are exploring how implementing resilient, sustainable projects can help rebuild our society. A few of the most prominent trends we’re seeing today (two years into the pandemic) are: 

  • Consumers are prioritizing products and brands that align with their values.
  • Supply chain resiliency is now more important than ever. With global product shortages, disruptions and delays, companies need to get more creative to ensure they deliver their same quality products on time. We believe this is a great opportunity for companies to develop deeper, more connected and mutually beneficial relationships with their suppliers and partners. 

What product(s) do you offer to meet this trend? 

We focus on producing ingredients for widely used materials and products made by biotechnology, fermentation and renewably sourced feedstocks. In the beauty industry, Genomatica is leading the transition away from petroleum-sourced butylene glycol — a commonly used ingredient in cosmetics, fragrances and personal care products — to a plant-sourced, more sustainable solution. This solution, known as Brontide® natural butylene glycol, has a 50% lower global warming potential compared to its fossil fuel-based counterparts.   

How does Brontide natural butylene glycol perform in formulations? 

Brontide natural butylene glycol offers personal care manufacturers a way to address consumer demand for more sustainable products that deliver the same performance as petroleum-based alternatives. The ingredient can be used as a humectant, an emollient, a skin-feel modifier, a preservative booster, a viscosity enhancer, a solvent, and a carrier for active cosmetic ingredients in a wide array of cosmetics and personal care products — including creams, moisturizers, conditioners, serums, shampoos, sunscreens, sheet masks and more.  

Recent studies further support the ingredient’s high-performance characteristics in personal care products, showing its:

  • Superior sensory performance and improved solvency in a skincare formulation compared to widely used natural solvents, glycerine and propanediol.
  • Consistent solubility in natural extracts compared to three diols and 15 common natural extracts.
  • Improved scent performance and better solvency in fragrances compared to conventional diluents.

Can you tell us more about your new study in the fragrance field?

We recently commissioned a master perfumer to conduct a study of 105 popular fragrance ingredients and four diluents to conduct an organoleptic blotter evaluation and test solubility. Each diluent and ingredient was assessed at multiple dilutions, during wet and dry-down intervals, resulting in more than 1,200 data points for analysis. 

When compared to two natural diluents, isopropyl myristate and benzyl benzoate — and the petroleum-based, industry-standard dipropylene glycol — Brontide natural butylene glycol was shown to improve the fragrance note strength and clarity, promoting a more uninhibited reveal of fragrance ingredients. For perfumers, this means they are now able to answer consumer demand for more sustainable fragrances without sacrificing the artistry and quality of their products.  

Will you create more sustainable ingredients in the future? 

Absolutely! We’re already advancing many other widely used ingredients and will be bringing new materials to market. For example, we're developing a lower-impact, plant-based nylon to replace conventional nylon; and in August 2021 we announced a partnership with lululemon, where they aim to bring our biobased nylon into their products. As we continue to expand our product pipeline and offer more key ingredients at a commercial scale, we aim to deliver on brands’ and their suppliers’ increasing need to have strategic sources of transparent, traceable and responsibly sourced materials. 

Kyle Huston | Product Director, Genomatica

Kyle has served as the Product Marketing Manager, Specialty Chemicals, at Genomatica since June 2017 and was promoted to Product Director in November 2021. From 2012 to 2017, he held various product management roles related to the surfactants and specialty ingredients markets at Nexeo Solutions (now Univar Solutions), a global chemical distributor. Kyle started his career as a technical salesperson at Viachem, a boutique chemical distributor based in Dallas, Texas, USA. Kyle holds a B.S. in Microbiology from Oklahoma State University.


Back to top