Everyday science in our homes: Using enzymes for more sustainable households


DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences, USA


This article from Vicky Huang, Scientist and Application Specialist for DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences, and Adam Garske, Ph.D., a Senior Scientist at DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences, will begin by laying out their field of research, which deals with the considerable enzyme science that goes into household products.

The piece will go through examples of this research, showing how enzymes can ultimately enable consumers to live better, more sustainable lives – e.g., uncovering how enzymes can replace harsher and non-biodegradable ingredients in household products; allow consumers to wash dishes and clothes on quicker cycles or lower temperatures; and lessening the massive global problem of food waste by preserving foods and beverages for longer.

The article will then dive a bit deeper into the focus of Dr. Garske’s TED talk, describing innovations in enzymes as tailor-made catalysts and the green choice for contemporary chemistry and microbiology. The article will describe how recent advances in enzyme engineering and directed evolution make possible the design of tailor-made catalysts for a variety of purposes.

In his research, Dr. Garske explores how scientifically modified enzymes can help solve urgent problems, such as plastics degrading enzymes or by improving the efficiency of common household products like laundry detergent and dish soap. 

New products that incorporate these innovations allow consumers to do more with less, ultimately reducing global consumption and waste.

Ultimately, the piece will drive home the thesis: that science – and specifically enzyme science – can help solve the global sustainability crisis.

When consumers think of everyday items with years of research and development behind them, what comes to mind? Probably their shiny, latest-generation cell phone, or maybe the cutting-edge home security system they just installed. If they are asked to think of the latest biotechnology they have encountered, they may think of the DNA sequencing kit they gifted a relative over the holidays.


Dishwashers, baked goods and laundry detergents likely are not the first things that came to mind. But these standard household items are hiding an immense amount of scientific innovation and cutting-edge biotechnology. The more we understand about these common items, the better and more responsible our decisions can be as consumers.


As scientists, we are only at the tip of the iceberg in terms of harnessing all of the knowledge we have to create a better world. That kind of innovation was on display recently when DuPont partnered with TED – a non-profit devoted to spreading ideas in the form of short, powerful talks – to host a TED@DuPont event in Philadelphia. In a day full of talks focused on “transformation,” speakers from DuPont ...