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More than 200 synthetic biologists will be landing on the Sunshine Coast to further explore the science that ultimately aims to underpin a thriving bio economy in regional Australia.

The ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology, supported by Visit Sunshine Coast, is at the Novotel Twin Waters from Dec 5-8 for its annual conference.

Synthetic biology relies on using waste agricultural, marine and municipal waste to convert biomass into biofuels, bioplastics and other high-value chemicals.

“For thousands of years, we have used microbes to create bread, wine and cheese,” says Centre Director, Distinguished Professor Ian Paulsen.

“Now we can modify microbes in tiny cellular ‘factories’ to replace many of the products currently produced by fossil fuels.”

Professor Paulsen said areas such as the Sunshine Coast stand to benefit from the outputs of synthetic biology which could create new industries and new jobs close to the source of waste products and feedstocks.

The Centre will be holding a tasting experience during the conference with several local food and beverage suppliers which potentially could have suitable waste outputs that lend themselves to bio-production of new products.

“Our own Centre alone has spun out seven start-up companies in less than three years. It’s a very active and vibrant space.

“Our researchers have been holding talks with industry in different parts of regional Australia and we’d love to hear from wineries, breweries, dairy farmers, councils or growers interested in learning more about the possibilities of value-adding through synthetic biology.”

Synthetic biology is regarded as the basis of a flourishing bioeconomy that’s tipped to be worth $2–$4 trillion dollars in economic impact globally over the next two decades.