The next time you savor the sweet flavor of vanilla ice cream or the fresh orange scent of a hand soap, you may have bacteria to thank. Fragrance companies are now looking to lab-engineered bacteria and yeast to produce fragrances normally derived from plants.
For centuries, humans have worked to harness good smells. Bottling a scent required painstakingly extracting plant oils from crops often grown in far-flung countries. The commercial fragrance market, which is responsible for the scents in everything from food and drinks to cleaning products and perfume, relies on a steady supply of these oils. But a natural disaster or corrupt government practice can easily dry up a source.
Now, using microbes to manufacture these scents is becoming a sweeter possibility. Compared to producing scents by chemical synthesis, microbial manufacture could be more eco-friendly, and still be labelled natural. And your nose will never know the difference. Learn more here.