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Renewable and Reductant-Free Methods for Producing Indigoid Dyes

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Background: Nearly all blue indigo dye produced today is produced synthetically mostly from petroleum. Indigo itself is a water-insoluble compound and is typically treated with a reducing agent to produce an unstable water-soluble intermediate. The most common reducing agents have many limitations (e.g. are unstable; can destroy the dye; are required in excess quantities; and are environmentally unfriendly). Also the quantity and variety of indigo precursors that can be produced through current natural biological pathways are limited. Technology Description: UC Berkeley researchers have developed methods for biosynthetically producing indigoid dye precursors and methods of using the indigoid dye precursors with greater structural variety which produce indigoid dyes without a harsh reductant chemical. Applications: Synthetic production of stable and renewable (i.e. not from petrochemicals) indigoid dyes.


Elimination of environmentally unfriendly and costly reductant chemicals.

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