Research: Competition winners on the hunt for enzymes of the future

Novozymes is sponsoring a Galathea 3 competition which will send Danish students to the Ikka Fiord in Greenland. The Ikka Fiord is home to ikaite, an extremely rare mineral containing unknown bacteria, which may produce super-efficient enzymes.

As the competition sponsor, Novozymes will be watching closely when the two winners of a competition based on enzymes make for the Ikka Fiord in south Greenland in August.

Jasmin Bagge from Frederiksberg Gymnasium and Malik Lund from North Greenland Gymnasium will be part of a research project under the umbrella of the Galathea 3 expedition, the most extensive Danish research expedition at sea for over 50 years. Among other things, the project will isolate enzymes from bacteria which live in ikaite columns at the bottom of the Ikka Fiord. This is the only place on earth where ikaite columns are known to exist, so the students will be involved in genuine basic research.

Steen Riisgaard, President & CEO of Novozymes, was present at the award ceremony. He is pleased that Novozymes can be involved in supporting the Galathea project’s goal of promoting interest in natural sciences among school pupils and upper-secondary students.

“It is important, for our company too, to boost young people’s enthusiasm for a career in the natural sciences. We need gifted researchers. At the same time, the project is exciting in itself, as the results may hopefully lead to the development of an even greater number of environmentally friendly biological solutions,” says Steen.

In addition to the basic scientific interest in the microorganisms in the ikaite columns, Biotechnological Institute and Greenland Home Rule are hoping that the researchers will discover enzymes which could be used in the production of new industrial enzymes.

Novozymes' sponsorship does not confer any exclusive rights. However, this in no way diminishes the company’s interest in supporting the research project, as the research in the Ikka Fiord dovetails perfectly with Novozymes' field of interest.