Making microorganisms produce more enzymes. Novozymes is the world leader in developing new methods to optimize the amount of enzymes that microorganisms can produce. The result is cheaper products and faster delivery to our customers.


In 1952 Novozymes introduced Thermozyme®, the world’s first enzyme produced by fermentation, thereby paving the way for large-scale production of enzymes. Ever since, Novozymes has been the world leader in the field, introducing a number of new methods to improve the process. The result is cheaper products and faster delivery to the benefit of our customers and consumers.

Fermentation to produce industrial enzymes starts with a vial of dried or frozen microorganisms called a production strain. This production strain is selected to produce large amounts of the enzyme(s) of interest.

Sterilization – A key faciltator in the production of enzymes

A key element of fermentation science is sterilization. In order to cultivate a particular production strain it is necessary to start by eliminating all the native microorganisms present in the raw materials and equipment. If this is not done satisfactorily, the wild organisms will quickly outnumber the production strain, and no production will occur. Sterilization can be achieved by heat and/or special filters.

The cultivation process

The production strain is first cultivated in a small flask containing nutrients and agar. The flask is placed in an incubator that provides the optimal temperature for the previously frozen/dried cells to germinate.

Once the flask is ready, the cells are transferred to a seed fermentor, which is a large tank containing previously sterilized raw materials and water known as the medium. Seed fermentation allows the cells to reproduce and adapt to the environment and nutrients that they will encounter later on.

Following seed fermentation, the cells are transferred to a larger tank, the main fermentor, where temperature, pH, and dissolved O2 are carefully controlled to optimize enzyme production. Additional nutrients may be added to enhance productivity. When the main fermentation is complete, the mixture of cells, nutrients, and enzymes, referred to as the broth, is ready for filtration and purification.