External promotor: prof. dr HJ Bouwmeester
Each year millions of tons of plastic, e.g. polyethylene terephthalate (PET), are produced from non-sustainable petrochemical sources (oil). An alternative source of biomaterials are plant monoterpenes. In this research monoterpenes were identified in the plant species Salvia dorisiana that are suitable for bioplastics. This plant produces monoterpenes in small glands (trichomes) on the leaf surface. However the amounts are by far not enough to meet human material demands. Therefore it was investigated how the plant exactly produces these compounds, and with this knowledge a production system was set-up in micro-organisms by metabolic engineering. Also a short transformation route was designed to convert the monoterpenes in terephthalic acid, the building block of PET plastic. All in all, this research is an important first step to use specific molecules from plants as an alternative source for biomaterials. Potentially, this will decrease dependence on fossil oil, and improve sustainability of production processes.