ASTM International recently announced it has formed a new committee for stakeholders in the field of industrial biotechnology, including representatives of the medical and pharmaceutical industries, the agricultural realm, and other industries. Committee E62 on Industrial Biotechnology was approved by the ASTM Board of Directors in June. The Biotechnology Industry Organization defines industrial biotechnology as “technology based on biology—biotechnology harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop technologies and products that help improve our lives and the health of our planet.”

Planning for Committee E62 began after a series of meetings between ASTM and the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) early last year. Larry Sloan, president and CEO of SOCMA, reportedly said he believes that standards to be developed by E62 will play an important role in establishing a more consistent foundation on which to base industry-related incentives and regulations.

“Without industrial biotechnology standards, we cannot have good policy and without good policy, we cannot have investment,” Sloan said. “And without investment, the U.S. cannot remain the global innovation leader that it is.”

Through its subcommittees, E62 intends to develop test methods, practices and terminology standards focusing on many aspects of industrial biotechnology. Potential topics for E62 standards include feedstock biomass, determination of green content, lifecycle analysis and drop-in chemical specifications.

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