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Table 1 Comparison of industrial biotechnology and chemical technology

From: New challenges and opportunities for industrial biotechnology

Items Industrial biotechnology Chemical technology
Reaction Time Slow: production takes days Fast: production takes hours
Substrates Agricultural products Petroleum or its derivatives
Conversion of substrates to products Low: e.g. PHB/glucose ≈ 33 wt% PHA/fatty acids ≈ 60 wt% High: e.g. Polyethylene/ethylene ≈ 100%
Medium Water Mostly organic solvents
Consumption of water A lot Less
Reaction conditions 30-40°C, normal pressure Generally >100°C, High Pressures
Product concentration Low: Several mg to 100 g/L Very high
Product recovery cost Very high Low to medium
Processing Normally discontinuous one Can be continuous
Sterilization Necessary No need
Production facility cost Very high Low to high (explosive proof)
Waste water Not toxic, easier to treat Generally toxic, difficult to treat