Enzymes in animal protein

Get more from animal protein

Rising demand for animal protein puts pressure on natural resources. It also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently called for livestock production to reach its peak by 2030. By helping to get the most from a wide range of animal co-products, enzymes contribute to this goal. They also help you reduce waste and improve your sustainability, product quality and yield. 


Turn animal co-products into high-value ingredients

According to The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 35% of the world’s harvest of fisheries and aquaculture is either lost or wasted. There is a huge opportunity to turn this waste into a protein source.

Enzymes are environmentally friendly processing aids. They convert animal by-products and/or co-products into valuable protein sources. Enzymatic protein hydrolysis solubilizes meat co-products by converting them into protein hydrolysates. These are proteins that have been at least partially broken down into small peptides and amino acids.

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Add more value with more enzymes

Enzymes are specific, meaning that each one catalyzes a specific reaction. Applying a combination of enzymes gives you more benefits and allows you to meet specific commercial goals. That’s why more enzymes can translate into higher value end products.

Explore the benefits

Produce natural flavors and flavor enhancers from animal coproducts with microbial enzymes, a natural processing aid that is environmentally friendly.

Get the free brochure to learn more about microbial enzymes for flavor generation.

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Delicious meat dish

Protein hydrolysates in food applications

When used as food ingredients, meat protein hydrolysates are known as meat protein extracts (MPEs). MPEs improve the flavor and texture of meat cuts, processed foods, soups, sausages and other foods. They’re also used as pet food palatants.


As food ingredients, fish protein hydrolysates are known as fish protein extracts (FPEs). These hydrolyzed fish proteins are used as natural flavors and flavor enhancers.


Protein hydrolysates from skin, bone and connective tissue are known as gelatin hydrolysates. These are used as gelling agents and thickeners in a range of processed foods.


Feather hydrolysates – or protein hydrolysates from feathers – are a valuable source of protein in the animal feed industry. 


Hand holding protein

Protein hydrolysates in non-food applications

Gelatin hydrolysates are also used in the photographic and pharmaceutical industries. 


Another protein extracted from bones by enzymatic hydrolysis is collagen. Its growing use in a range of healthcare and cosmetic applications means the collagen market is anticipated to reach USD 6.63 billion by 2025. Fish protein extracts are used to make fish oils rich in EPA, DHA and other omega 3 oils.


Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are complex polysaccharides found in various forms throughout the body. They play several key roles in health. Enzymes allow GAGS to be extracted efficiently and sustainably from animal sources. That makes them available for medical, veterinary, pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications.

yeast extract

Protein from other sources

Yeast is a microorganism and a high-quality protein source. Traditional yeast extract production uses enzymes naturally present in the yeast. Through enzymatic hydrolysis, you can achieve higher yield, better process control and more consistent product quality. 


Other sources of protein include edible insects. While still a niche product in Western food cultures, edible insects are part of many traditional food cultures across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Interest in insects as a food source is growing, thanks to their nutritional and environmental advantages. 


According to the FAO, there are a range of environmental opportunities associated with rearing insects for food. Research shows that familiar foods formulated with insect protein might be more accepted in Western food cultures. There is some evidence that enzymatic hydrolysis might improve the functionality and nutritional quality of insect flours.  

All you need to know about protease and protein

Have you wondered where the protease you’ve been using in your experiments and processes comes from, how they work, and what the most important principles to keep in mind are when optimizing or troubleshooting your proteolysis?

Novozymes protease biochemistry experts take questions from the industry in an 'ask the expert' forum.

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Your trusted enzyme supplier

Novozymes is your trusted enzyme supplier for animal protein processing with best-in-class capabilities and the broadest portfolio in the industry, including enzymes with unique functionalities and enzymes suitable for organic production. 

  • Superior know-how in technical implementation
  • Reliable supply chain with state-of-the-art production facilities in four continents
  • Best-in-class industrial microbial enzymes with consistent product quality. Superior performance compared to animal and plant based enzymes
  • Our enzymes can help reduce the CO2 footprint of final products
  • All our enzymes have gone through the strictest safety tests
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