Debate about Synbio products continues
Recently, US company Cargill has presented its new "EverSweet" product, a sweetener based on Rebaudioside, the sweetening compounds found in the Stevia plant.
Silvia Ribeiro and Jim Thomas, both from the ETC Group, a SYNENERGENE partner, comment on this new product in a piece published by Project Syndicate, 'A Bad Bet on Synthetic Biology'. Whereas Cargill highlights the product qualities and claims to have created a sustainable product, Ribeiro and Thomas question the company's transparency with regard to the production process (which uses synthetic biology methods to produce the sweetening compounds from yeast instead of stevia) and point out the economic impacts in stevia-producing countries.
The controversy resembles earlier ones about synbio products such as synbio vanillin and algae oil. With more and more synbio products coming to the market, it will be interesting to watch how the debate develops.