Submitted by Trudi Zundel on
Potential Impacts on Haiti’s Farming Communities
Synthetic biology is being used to develop a manufacturing platform for the production of so-called “natural” flavors & fragrances including essential oils that are sourced from plants in Haiti. Synthetic biology companies aim to produce high-value, low-volume flavor/fragrance compounds in engineered microbes as a market alternative to costly botanical imports or chemically-derived
synthetics. Our fact-finding report attempts to answer the following key questions: Is the market for Haiti’s essential oils threatened by current R&D on synthetic biology? Are the livelihoods of Haitian farming communities jeopardized by these developments?