Bioprivileged molecules: creating value from biomass
The petrochemical industry is built on C2–C4 alkenes and aromatics as intermediate molecules, which are converted to a range of products. This industry is highly developed with little opportunity for new chemical products. In comparison biological-derived intermediates from biomass have the potential to introduce a new set of intermediate molecules, which can be converted to molecules that directly replace petrochemicals. Even more promising is the potential to convert biological-derived intermediates to novel chemical species that impart enhanced performance properties in their end use. Here the concept of bioprivileged molecules is introduced as a useful new paradigm for developing biobased chemicals. Included are muconic acid, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural and triacetic acid lactone as example bioprivileged molecules. Also, discussed is the research needed to move this concept forward.