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Industrial Biotechnology Applications for Personal Care and Household Products


*Corresponding author
Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), 1201 Maryland Ave., Suite 900, Washington, DC 20024, USA


Consumer preference is driving demand for household and personal care products with greater renewable content and improved environmental health outcomes. This demand creates opportunity for growth of industrial biotechnology, which is an enabling technology for renewable content. Federal policy can play a key role in helping industrial biotechnology companies commercialize new technologies to meet market demand.


Consumer demand for products that improve the health of the environment – particularly within the home – is increasing. Biobased products – consumer items made with renewable biomass content through the application of innovative technology such as industrial biotechnology – can meet this demand if consumers are educated about their potential contribution to a healthier environment. The household product and personal care markets already present many opportunities.

Industrial biotechnology companies and industry researchers have actively explored the potential consumer demand for biobased products. The results indicate that consumer knowledge of biobased products is still generally low. A 2011 survey of Iowans, for instance, found that 44 percent of those surveyed had heard little to nothing about biobased cleaning products. Additionally, nearly one-third of respondents were unsure whether they currently had such products in their own home (1).

Still, just over 60 percent of the Iowa respondents indicated they would choose a biobased product over a petroleum-based product ...