Protein chemistry

Fundamental knowledge of enzymes and their substrates can link the vast protein diversity found in nature or generated artificially to applications across all business areas.

​Furthermore, basic understanding of how enzymes function, their identity, their characteristics, and their substrates opens up possibilities for developing new applications and improving existing ones.


The available protein diversity is increasing exponentially, regardless of whether discovered in nature or man made. Finding an enzyme with the appropriate properties for a specific application is like finding the right key to the right door. Basic, fundamental knowledge of the enzymes acquired by using the tools of protein chemistry can provide and select the keys, and it relates to the understanding of applications from applied research. The outcome is the development of new enzyme applications and the improvement of our existing products.

The techniques used in protein chemistry are important not only for building up knowledge of their function and characteristics, but also for providing input into which enzymes to select for a given application. From the many possible enzymes available in nature or generated artificially only a few carefully selected candidates will be tested in actual applications, as illustrated in the figure. The knowledge produced is used in both forward and backward feedback loops in a reiteration process to find even better enzymes.
Figure: The selection funnel. The knowledge generated is not only used going ahead with prime enzyme candidates, but also in a backward feedback loop to optimize the diversity input going into the funnel.
Novozymes has experts with specialist knowledge and long-term experience of all the major enzyme classes used in industry today: proteases, amylases, lipases, cellulases, hemicellulases, pectinases, phytases, oxidases and laccases.
As a critical interface between protein diversity and applications, we combine the information acquired from the above-mentioned studies and by comparing the results from different proteins, we are able to select just the right candidate for a given application and also anticipate which properties of a given enzyme need to be improved.