Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have developed a sustainable way of manufacturing adipic acid, a key component of nylon. The scientists modified the genetic code of the common bacteria E. coli in the laboratory. The modified cells were grown in liquid solutions containing guaiacol, a naturally occurring chemical and the main component of a compound that gives plants their shape. After a 24-hour incubation period, the modified bacteria transformed the guaiacol into adipic acid, without producing nitrous oxide, researchers said. This approach could be scaled up to make adipic acid on an industrial scale, revolutionizing how nylon is made. The study, funded by the Carnegie Trust and UK Research and Innovation, is published in ACS Synthetic Biology. The lead author is Jack Suitor, a PhD student in the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences. The researchers claims that it is the first time that adipic acid has been made directly from guaiacol, one of the largest untapped renewable resources on the planet.