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D. Putting Tobacco Waste to Good Use

Narrator: This is Science Today. It may seem highly unlikely, but Bruce Lipshutz, a biochemist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has found a way to put tobacco waste to good use. Lipshutz is synthesizing an invaluable vitamin supplement, called Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ, using a compound derived from tobacco waste.

Lipshutz: Well what we've identified are starting materials that we feel are readily available. So for example the key component that will make synthesis possible is a product of tobacco waste called solanesol.

Narrator: Lipshutz says using this raw material, solanesol, to produce CoQ is a cheaper and more efficient method than the fermentation method currently used in Japan.

Lipshutz: People literally have this waste from processing tobacco, especially in many foreign countries, like India, China, and to some degree in the United States. And they just throw it out; they use it as fertilizer.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.