Demand is growing for levulinic acid (4-oxopentanoic acid), a platform chemical used to manufacture various other chemicals.

According to a new report from Research and Markets, an increase in the number of applications of levulinic acid is one of the major trends on the horizon. The global levulinic acid market is forecast to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.52 percent over the period 2014-2019 as key vendors introduce innovative products that cater to new applications.

Levulinic acid is a sustainable, bio-based organic compound derived from raw materials such as biomass, manure, bagasse and brewery waste. The key end-users of the chemical are the agriculture, pharmaceutical, food and cosmetics industries.

In particular levulinic acid has applications in pesticides and fertilizers, and the agriculture industry is one of the major users of the product.

Among the challenges facing producers is the threat of substitution from synthetic chemical alternatives. In the current market, the price of levulinic acid is higher than its synthetic counterparts, which means that price-sensitive end-users tend to show a strong preference for the latter.

High costs for research and development also present a challenge.

The key vendors identified by Research and Markets are Biofine Technology, DuPont and Segetis, which dominate supply. Other prominent vendors include Avantium, Le Calorie, Sigma-Aldrich and and xF Technologies.