Genetically Engineered Fragrances From Yeast


Who is protecting the average person? Is there an agency making sure that technology pushed onto the unknowing public isn’t harming us?

I have written numerous articles on my concerns with genetically modified organisms (GMO). But now every natural fragrance will be replaced with GMO yeast engines pumping out smells according to the New York Times?

I understand and support technology helping humanity, but shouldn’t we be careful about replacing everything in the wild with a lab-produced product? Is it a good idea to lose knowledge of the natural world and the remaining knowledge being chemistry?

We already have a massive problem of unregulated chemicals. We need to get a handle on the hundreds of millions of tons of chemicals we pump out every year and ensure safety before we continue down the path of potentially further toxifying not only ourselves, but the entire world around us.

And then we have the socio-economic issues of all of the poor, third-world farmers of the natural products. From the article:

“Rick Brownell, an executive at the Virginia Dare Extract Company, a leading supplier of natural vanilla based in Brooklyn, said 80,000 farmers in Madagascar, one of the world’s poorest countries, grow vanilla beans.

“I really count on that to make a living,” said Bersonina, 63, a farmer in Madagascar. Bersonina, who uses only one name, said in a telephone interview arranged by the company that the $200 he made last year producing about 50 kilograms, or 110 pounds, of vanilla barely supported his family of four. He said he was not familiar with the yeast-made vanilla substitute but imagined that an industrial process “could make thousands and thousands of tons,” posing a threat to farmers like himself.”

Not a chemically synthesized product, but genetically modified yeast. Maybe a good thing, maybe not, there are a complex set of issues in this solution to a problem that really didn’t exist.

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