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DSM world’s first bio-based vitamin A begins application testing

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

DSM has begun customer sampling of the world’s first fully bio-based vitamin A. It follows pioneering research by the company’s scientists and the development of a proprietary manufacturing process that has been perfected for initial use in environmentally-conscious cosmetics products. Commercial-scale production for a wide range of end uses, including for additional human and animal health applications will follow.

Manufacturing vitamin A at scale was first made possible following a scientific discovery in 1947 at Hoffmann-La Roche (from which DSM acquired the vitamins business in 2003). Today, DSM is the world’s leading producer of vitamin A, creating the vital ingredient at a state-of-the-art facility in Sisseln, Switzerland, from where it is then applied in human and animal health products, food and feed, as well as for personal care and cosmetics markets around the world.

Pioneering research by DSM has led to a new scientific breakthrough whereby it is now possible to produce vitamin A using a specially developed strain of yeast that converts a renewable carbon source into vitamin A. The nature-inspired process has since been refined and proven to be scalable thanks to a global collaboration across six DSM facilities (Lexington and Columbia, US; Delft, Netherlands; Grenzach, Germany; Kaiseraugst and Sisseln, Switzerland). This fully bio-based proprietary production method has the potential to transform the industry, providing a major leap forward for the environmental ambitions of DSM and DSM’s customers across the personal care and cosmetics, food, human health, and animal health markets.

Ronald Gebhard, DSM’s VP Biosciences & Process Innovation, said “we realized we had something revolutionary at hand when we first isolated vitamin A out of a bio-broth with a profile consistent with our existing process. Our new fully bio-based process relies on commonly available renewable raw materials and results in a lower carbon footprint and less waste while still delivering the industry-beating quality expected of DSM. Drawing upon the power of nature and our own scientific heritage, we are radically transforming how vitamins are made. Our pioneering work is a testament to our scientific capabilities and the passion of our scientists around the world who are striving to create better health for people and the planet.”

DSM is initially producing bio-based vitamin A for the personal care market. Vitamin A has various nutritional uses and benefits in supporting human and animal health and DSM is developing further applications for these markets with testing soon to get underway.

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