Russian biochemist and statesman Chaim Weizmann discovered the first method of producing synthetic acetone in the early 1900s. However, acetone is also a naturally occurring substance.
Weizmann developed the acetone–butanol–ethanol fermentation process, which utilizes bacterial fermentation to produce acetone. Weizmann's work on this method is one of the earliest examples of what is now known as biotechnology. He developed the method during World War I to help England produce munitions, when acetone was used in the manufacture of crucial explosives. By 1916, the synthetic production of acetone began on an industrial scale, and over 30,000 tonnes of acetone were produced during the war.