Global market for microbes and microbial products to almost double by 2020

October 06, 2015

Wellesley, Mass., October 06, 2015— The global market for biofuels is expansive, with starch- and sugar-based ethanol accounting for the bulk of the market. BCC Research examines in its new report how falling domestic demand has left U.S. producers with the largest inventories in more than a year. Futures market data suggest that the price of ethanol could decline even further to as low as $1.42 per gallon ($464 per metric ton) by 2018 before it starts to recover.

This report updates an earlier BCC Research report published in 2013. It surveys microbial applications in a wide range of fields based on the most recent data, identifies the applications that appear to have significant commercial potential in the near- to mid-term, and develops quantitative estimates of their current and/or future sales.

The global market for microbes and microbial products is projected to approach $154.7 billion and $306 billion in 2015 and 2020, respectively, reflecting a five-year (2015-2020) compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.6%. As a segment, the microbial product market is expected to nearly double from $151 billion in 2015 to $300.1 billion in 2020, indicating a five-year CAGR of 14.7%. The global market for microbes as a segment should gain $290 billion over the forecast period, leading to $5.9 billion in 2020 with a five-year CAGR of 9.8%.

Healthcare, the largest end-user market for microbes and microbial products, should total $187.8 billion in 2020, up from $111.5 billion in 2015. Energy was the second-largest end-user sector at $25.2 billion in 2014. The energy sector is expected to decline to $22.6 billion in 2015 due to falling ethanol prices. However, this market should rebound to almost $74.4 billion by 2020, courtesy of a five-year CAGR of 26.6%, the highest of all sectors. Manufacturing is the third-largest sector of the market, with sales of nearly $15.7 billion in 2014, $18.2 billion in 2015 and more than $40 billion in 2020. Agricultural and environmental applications of microbes and microbial products, while large in absolute terms, account for relatively small shares of the overall market.

Technologies under development for producing biodiesel from biomass include using bacteria, fungi and algae.  While algal production of biodiesel appears to draw the greatest interest, judging by the number of companies that are pursuing it, bacterial biodiesel appears to be the closest to commercialization.

“At present, rapeseed accounts for the bulk of global biodiesel production, with sunflower oil providing most of the remainder and small contributions from other vegetable oils,” says BCC Research analyst Andrew McWilliams. “Since plant oils are often derived from seeds, biodiesel currently has a low yield relative to the amount of land, water and farming energy required.  Direct biodiesel production from biomass feedstock using engineered microorganisms would have both a potentially high yield and lower input requirements.”

Microbial Products: Technologies, Applications and Global Markets (BIO086C) examines microbes and microbial products used in commercial applications. The report, which excludes viruses, identifies market dynamics, growth drivers, inhibitors, opportunities, and forecasts trends and revenue through 2020.

Editors and reporters who wish to speak with the analyst should contact Steven Cumming at

Microbial Products: Technologies, Applications and Global Markets( BIO086C )
Publish Date: Sep 2015    

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