Ambergris carries a whale of a price (and demand). This has chemists scrambling for cheaper ways to produce a precursor material, sclareol, as this patent from Firmenich illustrates.
Sclareol for F&F
U.S. Patent 9267155
Publication date: Feb. 23, 2016
Assignee: Firmenich SA
Sclareol is a naturally occurring diterpene molecule extensively used to develop fragrance molecules with ambergris notes. Due to the high price and increasing demand for ambergris, as well as the protected status of the whales from which it is sourced, chemical synthesis of ambergris constituents and molecules with ambergris character have been developed.
An objective of this invention was to develop a method for making sclareol in an economic way. The method described can be carried out in vitro or in vivo, and involves contacting a polypeptide having sclareol synthase activity with labdenediol diphosphate (LPP).
This patent also covers a nucleic acid from Salvia sclarea that encodes the polypeptide of the invention; an expression vector containing the nucleic acid; as well as a non-human organism or cell transformed to harbor the same nucleic acid.
Patent accessed April 8, 2016.