On December 13, 2023, Kao announced that it will begin B-to-B sales of gallic acid in Japan (product name: GA-100 BIO), produced by utilizing genetically engineered coryneform bacteria.
Gallic acid is an aromatic compound found in the insect galls of the poison ivy plant, and is used as a chemical necessary for semiconductor circuit formation and as a rust inhibitor for boilers. Currently, it is produced by extracting the insects’ husks, but the yield is easily affected by weather conditions and the harvesting area is limited, making it difficult to ensure a stable supply. Therefore, Kao has focused on the technology for fermentation production of gallic acid from glucose, and has aimed to develop a production technology with a view to practical application. Kao has now succeeded in introducing multiple pathways for the production of gallic acid into coryneform bacteria and in inhibiting metabolic pathways for the production of by-products. Using the coryneform bacteria, we have established a technology for highly efficient fermentation production of gallic acid from glucose (Fig. 1). The developed coryneform bacterium has a 1.8-fold increase in the conversion capacity from glucose to gallic acid compared to the original coryneform bacterium, thus enabling a reduction in production costs. It is believed that this technology can be applied to construct a new supply chain that can provide a stable and inexpensive supply of gallic acid, and further development of the technology for practical use is planned in the future.