The agreement represents Bunge’s continued endorsement of the development and implementation of yield-enhancing enzymatic processes for the refinement of seed oils. Bunge has also agreed to become Verenium’s process implementation partner for Verenium’s first commercial product for seed oil refining, Purifine™, a phospholipase C (PLC) enzyme.
Incorporation of Verenium’s innovative PLC enzyme into the vegetable oil production process significantly improves oil yield and reduces the need for chemicals. The Purifine process provides a novel method for removing oil phospholipids during the oilseed degumming process. Oilseed processors using Purifine enzyme are expected to achieve a yield increase of between 1-2%, depending on the phospholipid content of the crude vegetable oil.
“Purifine represents an important new commercial opportunity for our Specialty Enzymes business,” said Carlos A. Riva, President and Chief Executive Officer at Verenium. “We are pleased to again be partnering with Bunge, a proven leader in the oilseed processing industry and are confident that this new collaboration will greatly benefit both of our businesses.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Verenium and Bunge will also collaborate to develop and commercialize next-generation custom enzymes designed to further improve the economics of vegetable oil processing. Verenium will receive research funding from Bunge to develop the enzymes.
As Verenium’s process implementation partner for Purifine, Bunge will supply process expertise to Verenium to assist with the commercial scale-up of the Purifine process, with the goal of producing a validated turn-key process that can be rapidly implemented by the rest of the industry.
“Enzyme-enabled processes are beginning to play a much larger role in vegetable oil production,” said Rodney Perry, Vice President and General Manager of Bunge Oils. ”By partnering with Verenium, Bunge is ensuring that we will have access to the most robust and customized enzymes available.”
Edible oil products include bottled vegetable and cooking oils, shortenings, margarines, and other products derived from the processing of soybeans, corn, rapeseed and other oilseed plants. Edible oils are also the primary feedstock for biodiesel production. The annual global market for edible oils for 2005 was in excess of $29 billion.