The Integral Role of Bioproducts in the Growing Bioeconomy

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Industrial Biotechnology

Publication Date


Date Added



Bioproducts refer to industrial chemicals and materials other than fuels that are refined from renewable biological resources, or any domestic consumables manufactured with such chemicals and materials. Bioproducts development is as essential a pathway for valorizing biomass materials as biofuels. Integrated production of biofuels and bioproducts has been identified as a key strategy to improve the economics of biorefineries and the sustainability of the bioeconomy. This paper reviews the roadmap, status, and major challenges of bioproducts development. Currently there are more than 15,000 marketable bioproducts in five broad classes: biochemicals, biopolymers, bioadhesives, biomedicines, and biopesticides. These bioproducts are manufactured from diverse biomass feedstocks using biorefining technologies similar to those for biofuels. Food crops, specialty plants, lignocellulosic residues, and algal biomass can be pretreated with efficient separation techniques to extract starch, sugars, (hemi)cellulose, proteins, lipids, fibers, and specialty chemicals and further processed into valuable bioproducts through fermentation or chemical transformation. Lignocellulosic biomass can be hydrolyzed to simple sugars for manufacturing biochemicals and bioplastics via fermentation and polymerization. It can also be converted to bio-oil and syngas using pyrolysis and gasification techniques and subsequently to valuable chemicals through Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. Biowaste materials can be processed via anaerobic digestion to produce biogas, a primary industrial feedstock for numerous chemicals and plastics. The most pressing challenge of bioproducts development is to improve the economics of biorefineries through biotechnology innovations and cross-sector integration. Effective integration of biofuel and bioproducts production requires technological and financial support and life cycle assessment-based planning. The global bioproducts market value was estimated at US$282 billion in 2016 and forecast to expand annually by 11% in the next five years.






Environmental Sciences