Novozymes promotes enzymes for ‘gentle’ omega-3 processing

By Shane STARLING contact

- Last updated on GMT

Novozymes: ..."enzymatic processing can help because you can get more value from the fish oil.”
Novozymes: ..."enzymatic processing can help because you can get more value from the fish oil.”

Related tags: Omega-3 fatty acid, Eicosapentaenoic acid

Danish enzymes specialist Novozymes is seeing growth in its nascent omega-3 business that is utilising its core enzyme specialisation in a relatively new area.

Global marketing manager in oils and fats Jens Christian Moestrup told us his “young business area​” was growing steadily as a segment of a broader health and wellness Nozozymes strategy that has seen the enzymes giant up its participation in sectors like gluten-free, low-allergy infant foods, protein fortification and lactose reduction.

He said enzymatic processing of fish oils allowed for more “gentle processing” ​that could produce higher quality omega-3 forms like DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). 

“Fish oil is expensive – around €60-80 per kilogram at the moment for quality material,” ​he said. “So enzymatic processing can help because you can get more value from the fish oil.”

Moestrup noted the alternative to chemical extraction also had the potential to boost triglyceride concentration levels, while conceding the process was more expensive.

“But you save in purification costs. It is a simpler, more natural process which is something a lot of consumers are looking for now.”

By-products can be reduced and the extraction occurs at low temperatures, thereby removing some issues that can occur with heat treatment such as degradation of fatty acid double bond molecular structures.

The Copenhagen-based company was fielding increasing business from food supplement and functional food firms as well as in the feed sector.

Several projects with ingredient suppliers were ongoing using its Lipozyme 435 technology the firm said is useful for ester production and acidolysis.

Baking

Sourdough_artisan_bread bakery
Can enzymes increase artisanal bread shelflife?

Novozymes promotes enzymes as alternatives to chemical processing and it has a large presence in the international baking sector.

Bakery sector global marketing manager Stephan van Sint Fiet said while its enzymes have traditionally been used as taste, texture and formulation aids, health and wellness issues such as acrylamide reduction were gaining in importance.

“Consumers want healthy choices. They want free-from solutions. Undesirables removed. Clean up the label – that’s what enzymes offer. So we work together with flour mills and ingredients suppliers and bakery specialists.”

Increasing the shelf life of artisanal bakery products to 2-5 days was one project the firm was working on, although winning the total support of that sector was proving challenging.

Fungi

Sara Landvik2-Novozymes-fungi
Landvik: "Fungi are smarter than we are."

Another project in fungal extracts was showing ongoing potential in formulation and nutrition.

“Fungi is everywhere,” ​said Sara Landvik, science manager in Fungal Discovery.

“We are working with 40-60,000 strains. Often mixed cultures are the most interesting​. Fungi are smarter than we are. We can learn from them.”

Food and beverage VP Rasmus von Gottberg said the sector accounted for about a quarter of Novozyme’s business and was growing at about 5%, but “we have higher ambitions of about 8-10%.” 

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