Krishna Mohan Puvvada, Regional President and Business Director, Consumer Biosolutions, Novozymes South Asia Pvt Ltd, in an interaction with the Industry Outlook, shares his insights on the enzymes market and concerns pertaining to industrial enzyme production, fermentation, and more.
The global industrial enzymes market is expected to reach USD 9.14 billion by 2027. How do you see this market developing in India? What are the key factors driving the growth of this market in India?
The major factor that is going to drive higher adoption of industrial enzymes
is the focus towards decarbonisation. World over, and including in India, there is an increased awareness on how biotechnology
can play a critical role towards enabling a carbon neutral society, healthier lives and transforming the food system.
This is further reinforced when the Government of India sets a mission to be a USD 150 billion bioeconomy by 2025. We look forward to participating in this strategic direction and play a key role in furthering the government’s initiatives.
In addition, it is heartening to see corporate India outline sustainability goals which also help increase the usage of green technologies like ours.
Prediction of the most suitable fungal host for the production of enzymes has been a continual challenge for the industry. What method can be used to effectively map out the best fungal host species for industrial enzyme production?
The selection of the most suitable microbial host for industrial enzyme production, be it fungal or bacterial, is not the biggest challenge in the complex process of industrial enzyme production optimization. For production host selection, we rely on our extensive in house scientific databases on protein, microbial gene sequences which combined with decades of research and scientific advances in recombinant DNA technology, bioinformatics, genomics, proteomics, metabolomics helps us to develop the most optimal host and process for enzyme production.
However, there is no one size fits all approach, each enzyme producing microbial host is carefully optimized on several aspects including the location of gene insertion, the copy number of the inserted genes and gene promoter which ensures that it delivers its best production capacity. The process and the speed of protein engineering and genomics have improved over the years. Getting the right balance between the host and the process of fermentation is the key.
Industrial fermentation takes into account many factors for economical production of desired products such as product selectivity, product titer, and productivity. With all the variables in the line, how can an efficient and economical enzyme fermentation be attained?
The process optimization for the industrial enzyme production is continuous, it is about identifying the slowest step in the production process, improving it and then moving on to the next slowest step. It could be about improving protein folding, having the right balance of nutrients-pH-temperature-agitation during fermentation, improving protein solubility for faster downstream process, engineering stable enzyme molecules requiring lower stabilizers in the final product, all of it could be several parameters and a lot of biology.
As a market leader, we continuously look into the space of how to produce more and also how to produce more with less. Novozymes has committed to accelerate towards a climate neutral society and it also reflects in our enzyme production process. Each production optimization has the key elements of saving/ reusing water, saving energy by transferring heat, and using electricity from renewable sources. This is being economical in using less resources and caring for our earth.
Although the use of rDNA technology significantly lowers the cost of enzyme production, the applications of enzymes are still limited, thereby making cost reduction an important challenge in front of the industry. How is the industry working to overcome this challenge?
The application of enzymes is a matter of industries’ adaptation towards technology, quality enhancement and ability to invest in capex. As industry expands and caters to the emerging needs of consumers for higher quality and productivity improvements, the acceptance of enzyme technology is enhanced. The use of enzymes requires a willingness to change, a willingness to do something good for the environment.
Novozymes have introduced many technologies in India. It takes three to five years for new technologies to achieve market acceptance and widespread adoption. It is about educating the market and helping the transition to a new technology.
The industry today is looking at the overall cost in use, factoring in all the benefits and not pure enzyme cost. Looking at it holistically, the enzyme technology is a better alternative, and we see an increased acceptance.
How do you see the industrial enzyme market evolving in the future?
We see huge opportunities for biological solutions across a wide range of industries. With India moving towards a rising income country, it provides multiple opportunities. Premiumization of categories, introduction of new formats and rise of convenience led categories are few examples. Food & Beverages would see demand for health-related properties as part of product offerings. Further, companies and brands will be looking at clean labeling, reduction of salt, sugar, trans fats, preservative free etc. All of these present an opportunity to bring more biology into products.
With industry moving towards being better organized, the rising commodity prices will force a deeper look at yield enhancement or increased efficiency in process industries like Vegetable oils, Starch processing, Distilling etc. These could trigger adoption of better technologies for improved efficiency.
South Asia has a huge textile industry. Here, we see biological solutions playing a role to reduce energy, water, time and enhance quality of the produce. Using biological solutions can enable increased shelf life of garments and thereby reduce landfill.
In Bio Agriculture, biological solutions can help plant protection and yield enhancements in a sustainable way. By enabling access to quality and sustainable farming inputs it can play a critical role in advancing the Government of India’s vision of sustainable agriculture.
Similarly, we are witnessing increased acceleration in biofuels in India. The Government of India realizes the strategic importance of biofuels and therefore has been steadily raising the share of ethanol in motor fuels. There is a huge potential for biosolutions to contribute to India’s journey towards cleaner and greener mobility.
All these factors make us more responsible, and we will see increased adoption.