BioAmber’s organisms can use a range of renewable feedstocks as a source of fermentable “sugars” including glucose (also called dextrose) from corn, wheat, tapioca and other starch sources, sucrose (also called sugar) from cane or beets, and ligno-cellulosic sugars containing significant quantities of xylose derived from agricultural and forestry waste.
Given the small quantity of fermentable sugars that BioAmber requires to produce bio- succinic acid, the Company has initially used commercially available 95% dextrose syrup, which it believes to be the most cost competitive source of fermentable sugars today. As ligno-cellulosic sugar technologies mature and become commercially available at competitive prices, BioAmber plans to shift to non-food fermentable sugars.
BioAmber would require less than 0.4% of the 12.4 billion bushels of corn harvested in the United States in 2012 to produce $1.0 billion worth of bio-succinic acid. Given this modest demand for fermentable sugars, rapid growth in the Company’s production capacity would not likely have a material impact on the markets from which it plans to source sugars.
While the Company does not have a near-term economic incentive to move to non-food fermentable sugars, it recognizes the growing need to focus the food chain on human nutrition, and to use sustainable, non-food, sources of biomass to produce chemicals and materials. BioAmber plans to move to non-food fermentable sugars when they become commercially available and economically viable. The Company is pursuing three strategies to accelerate this shift: