Recombinant expression

Transferring beneficial enzyme genes to an efficient enzyme-producing organism.


When Novozymes launched the detergent enzyme Lipolase® in 1988, we were the first company in the world to market an enzyme produced from genetically engineered microorganisms.

Since then Novozymes has expanded the use of gene technology to become a versatile tool in discovering natural enzymes, generating artificial enzymes, and producing superior enzyme products that meet the demands of our customers.

Once a new protein has been identified for a specific application, the next challenge is to produce the protein in yields greatly exceeding those achieved by the endogenous organism.

However, with Novozymes’ recombinant expression systems a gene that codes for the protein of interest can be transferred to another microorganism developed into an efficient expression system.

The principle for producing an enzyme in a high yield is to first identify the gene that codes for the enzyme and then use genetic engineering to transfer the gene to a well-known domesticated microorganism known as the host strain. Using sophisticated recombinant techniques an expression plasmid harboring the enzyme gene under the control of suitable expression signals is transferred into the host strain. An optimal fermentation process is then developed for the resulting production strain to generate high-quality protein products.

Novozymes uses both fungal and bacterial expression systems. Our preferred expression systems – both bacterial and fungal – have been selected based on several criteria, most importantly a documented history of safe use and the ability to produce large amounts of pure enzyme.
Unwanted side activities such as alpha-amylases, proteases, and certain primary and secondary metabolites have been removed by gene deletion or metabolic engineering.

Most of the species that are now used as expression systems have been used in industrial processes for more than 30 years.

The combinations of gene technology and fermentation process development give us a leading position in the field of recombinant expression of tailored proteins that meet the needs of our customers.