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Biotechnology offers new possibilities

Novozymes makes use of gene technology because it opens up a range of possibilities which would not otherwise be within reach. Gene technology – and so industrial biotechnology – is an important element in the development of more sustainable industrial production.

Gene technology is used both in research and commercially in a number of very different and incomparable contexts. The concepts of red, green and white biotechnology have therefore been introduced in recent years. Red biotechnology is gene technology for pharmaceutical use, while green represents gene technology applied to plants. White – or industrial – biotechnology includes the production and use of enzymes. White biotechnology typically replaces traditional chemical processes with less polluting processes and is characterised by the contained use of gene technology.

Enzymes are catalysts
Enzymes are proteins that occur naturally in all living organisms. They are catalysts which can help to turn one substance into another. This characteristic makes enzymes useful in a wide range of industries.

Enzymes still account for by far the largest part of Novozymes' product range. They are produced using microbiological processes and fermentation technology in large tanks with capacities up to 160,000 litres. The production organisms are well-known fungi or bacteria, which in many cases have been modified using gene technology to enable them to produce the desired enzyme efficiently.

Efficient production and better environment
The use of gene technology is in many cases essential for realising the benefits that enzymes can deliver. Gene technology, including protein engineering, has enabled Novozymes to customise enzymes for highly specific purposes and so introduce the use of enzymes in more and more industries. The technology has also made it possible to improve the microorganisms used in Novozymes' own production, with the result that the production of enzymes today is far more efficient than before and, among other things, uses less water and energy.

The combination of better economy and environmental benefits for customers is key to Novozymes' commercial success. This is a major reason why the pros and cons of selected products are now being documented through lifecycle assessments. Read more in the article Enzymes' effects from cradle to grave.

Novozymes attaches importance to a holistic approach when assessing how and to what extent gene technology, production technology and the use of its products help to create value for society.

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