Evonik continues fermentation drive with launch of vegan-friendly collagen

By Liza Laws

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Evonik Collagen Biotechnology

Chemicals company Evonik, announces the development of a collagen form made using fermentation-based processes that do not use animal or human-derived materials.

Launched as part of the German-based firm’s drive to replace animal origin ingredients and intermediates, the highly soluble, ultra-pure collagen form adds to the firm’s range of fermentation-driven products such as omega-3 fatty acids derived from natural marine algae.

This is arguably our biggest innovation breakthrough in years – a fermentation-based collagen platform that can effectively substitute the use of animal-derived collagen in pharmaceutical, medical and cell culture markets,” ​says Dr Thomas Riermeier, general manager for the healthcare line at Evonik.

“We look forward to working with customers to develop the next generation collagen products with an improved safety profile.”

Triple helix structure

The collagen features a triple helix structure and other biological properties that mimic many attributes of natural collagen so it can reliably interact with cells and tissues and be readily absorbed or remodelled by the body.

The company says it will use its existing fermentation process technologies and manufacturing network to commercialise the collagen for worldwide use while also helping customers develop their own products.

Evonik’s collagen-based activities will also support its Tissue Engineering Project House, launched in Singapore in 2018 by its innovation unit Creavis that develops advanced biomaterial solutions in regenerative medicine.

Collagen, a protein that acts as a glue holding together many parts of the body, is often added to face and body creams and shampoos as well as taken as a supplement, and it is big business for the nutricosmetic industry.

Evonik’s presence in the beauty sector received a boost earlier this year with the acquisition of Wilshire Technologies in a move to beef up its Care Solutions business line with a nutricosmetics component.

The deal continues Evonik’s drive to focus on sustainability as part of its portfolio transformation that has already seen future production at Care Solutions move to Essen, Duisburg, and Steinau in Germany.

“Biotechnology is an important lever for growth and innovation within Evonik Nutrition & Care that leverages our core competencies across fermentation, biomaterials and product industrialisation,” ​adds Johann-Caspar Gammelin, chairman of the board of management of Evonik Nutrition & Care.

High purity level

Evonik says its collagen is produced under controlled conditions and, as well as being sustainable and suitable for vegans, this process delivers an extremely high level of purity that is easy to reproduce.

While the biggest benefit for vegans is that no animals are harmed, there will be other benefits to vegan collagen particularly for those who may have allergies.

Animal sourced collagen can be associated with batch to batch variability, potential transmissions of diseases or pathogens, adverse immunogenic or allergic reactions and non-sustainable sourcing methods.

Collagen production via microbes would take out this potential worry because if it is being produced in a controlled environment, common allergens and other harmful substances can be removed. 

If made in a controlled lab, the collagen will be much easier to trace therefore increasing the safety profile for any products.

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