Scents and Flavors from Re-Engineered Yeast

Odor-proof underwear, 40 years of Virgin Records and a DIY digital microscope in this week's look at the web

Engineers at Amyris are growing the products used to make exotic scents and flavors—like patchouli, saffron and vanilla—from yeast, and at a very large scale. Makers are saying that the new process could help food and cosmetic companies—and ultimately consumers—by reducing crazy fluctuations in pricing, availability and quality that rise from our current dependence on farming. The switch would also ameliorate the impact of over-harvesting wild plants. Most importantly, this process won’t stop at scents and flavors. It’s already expanding to pharmaceutical and rubber industries.