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New enzymes for new needs
It’s payback time, fungi!

corresponding

SARA LANDVIK
Science manager in the Department of fungal Discovery, Novozymes

Abstract

The world is constantly changing and changing needs require new cleaning technology and a greener and more sustainable detergent business. Enzymes, nature’s own building blocks, can be a solution to these challenges. Produced in fermentation processes, enzymes for industrial use are based on fungi or microbes found in nature. The challenge is to find the right enzyme for any given application and to determine gene encoding for this enzyme.
A growing population in a globalized world constantly calls for new technological solutions to support new lifestyles – also in the area of detergents. Changes in eating habits or food ingredients introduce new types of stains, which might be challenging to remove with traditional detergent technology. Stains and dirt might bind differently to novel types of fabrics compared to traditional fabrics. Advanced functionalities of fabrics such as UV protection, rain resistance, and wrinkle freeness, all adds further demands to modern detergent performance.


Even more challenging, we have to face the fact that the detergent business plays a role in the increased use of fossil fuels and other non-sustainable resources. All steps towards more sustainable detergents are therefore welcome – and have the chance to substantially contribute to a greener world. The trend of washing at lower temperatures is one move in this direction as savings in electricity is obvious. But, this again calls for adjustments of detergent technology to live up to the expected cleaning performance.

 

ENZYMES: THE LITTLE TOOLS OF NATURE AND THE PERFECT STAIN REMOVER
A supreme match to both the requirements of new functionality as well as a greener technology is the use of enzymes. Detergent enzymes have been used to boost the cleaning since 1963, when the first protease was introduced to the market.  The strengths of enzymes are their cost efficiency and the specific activity on their target molecules. An amylase type of enzyme only affects starch containing stains, lipase only acts on specific types of fat stains, and so on. This means that the enzymes will not destroy the fabric or the washing machine, needless to say un ...




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