Bio-Prospecting (Georg Anderl, Plant Manager)
Georg Anderl works with Genencor. His company engineers enzymes to help detergents really clean up!
The way we actually find these enzymes [is to] go out and do bioprospecting. Genencor has a little tag line "innovative by nature" and what we mean by that is there's so much actually out there in the world, in terms of biodiversity. I came across a fact recently where we've only studied 1% of the organisms out there.Ninety-nine percent we haven't even touched yet. It's that biodiversity we're tapping into. We go out and look at thermal vents in national parks, bat caves in Mexico. We harvest samples to see what kind of microoganisms exist in there and look at what kinds of enzymes they produce . We test those in a variety of applications to see if they give us any kind of beneficial effects our customers might like to see. For instance, if you have a certain kind of stain, [a chocolate stain], does this enzyme work effectively against a broad range of stains in certain conditions? It can work in hot water. It can work in alkaline conditions. We look to see what's out there in the wild and bring that back to the lab. If that enzyme is what we're looking for, then we can actually put it into a production host, a little organism that will produce it efficiently and then we bring it back to the plant and we put it in a very controlled environment, inside of a tank, and grow those cells up under controlled conditions of temperature and pressure and things like that. And that makes the enzymes force which we then harvest.