IFF's newest enzyme for laundry detergents started from a simple question: How can we make our customers's lives easier?

Detergent makers face a constant juggling act as they strive to meet performance expectations, improve eco-friendliness, comply with regulations, and stay competitive. To keep up with these demands, many brands update their formulas every six to 18 months. However, changing the formula is a complex and expensive process that can also impact the stability and effectiveness of the enzymes included in it.

Launched in 2023, IFF’s best-in-class laundry protease, PREFERENZ® P 400, is designed to meet these customer needs.

We understood the need to make it easier for our customers to have an enzyme that you can just drop in your formula and not lose sleep over. With this new protease, our customers won't need to spend a tremendous amount of time and money figuring out how to formulate around their enzymes, and will have the flexibility to reformulate whenever they want to.

Corey Naab

Technology Platform Project Manager, IFF

PREFERENZ is a prime example of IFF using its industry-leading biotech expertise to deliver high-performing solutions that add value for customers and contribute to a greener bioeconomy. It’s performance done naturally better.


Designing for the greater good

In developing PREFERENZ, IFF’s scientists applied the latest in protein engineering expertise to tackle another customer challenge: stability in liquid laundry detergents. When enzymes are added to a liquid solution, they tend to quickly degrade. And protease enzymes add an additional hurdle: They’re great at breaking down protein-based stains (e.g., grass, blood, and food), but they can harm other enzymes added to a detergent formula. Some competitors get around this issue by adding a protease inhibitor, a built-in chemical stabilizer that adds raw materials costs.

But PREFERENZ is designed to be more physically stable than other proteases on the market, removing the need for any chemical stabilizers. “It’s friendlier to other enzymes in your formula,” says Naab. And for customers, this means greater ease of use and fewer ingredients needed. “We’re taking chemistry out of the detergent. It lines up nicely with the consumer movement of ‘less is more.’”


And by eliminating the need for an additional stabilization package, detergent makers can potentially save more on formulation costs and diminish their carbon footprint.

Greater enzyme stability also means that detergents will maintain their performance over time. This enables manufacturers to offer long-lasting concentrated bottles and other packaging sizes with confidence that their product performs down to the last dose of laundry detergent.

PREFERENZ is also engineered to provide outstanding cleaning performance at all washing cycles, including cold water washes as low as 30 degrees Celsius. “We’re making it easier for consumers to make more sustainable choices without having to compromise on their laundry detergent performance,” says Naab.

Relieving the pain in stain

While consumers are interested in going “green” today, they’re slow to adopt sustainable cleaning habits that can make a positive impact on the planet. According to a recent survey, nearly 28% of consumers don’t choose the eco-cycle on their dishwashers due to the perception that it does not deliver the same cleaning level as the standard cycle. And 42% of consumers unnecessarily pre-rinse their dishes out of concern that their dishes are not getting fully cleaned, according to the same study.

With EXCELLENZ® P 2250, IFF scientists set out to create a new protease that could target egg-related soils, a particular pain point among consumers, and deliver better performance in eco-friendly dishwashing cycles. Eggs are used in many food products, from bread to pasta to biscuits to crackers. And dried egg yolks are notoriously difficult to remove in standard dishwashing cycles.

To keep up with the real-world needs of the market, IFF’s scientists acquired multiple types of dishwashers used by consumers today to perform additional tests on their novel enzyme, EXCELLENZ P 2250. The standard test dishwashers in research labs operate on longer cycles and at higher temperatures and don’t match current consumer preferences for shorter washing cycles. “We really wanted to understand our enzyme’s performance in the real machines of today,” says Sander Kluit, Senior Application Scientist at IFF.

The new engineered enzyme for granular dishwashing detergents works at lower temperatures on shorter cycles and outperforms the current commercially available dishwashing proteases. Recent analysis found that EXCELLENZ P 2250 has much higher cleaning performance, which allows for improved cleaning at equal detergent dosage, and could ultimately reduce the amount of dosage needed.

And with better performing enzymes like EXCELLENZ P 2250, consumers are more apt to embrace sustainable cleaning practices, such as using energy-saving settings on their dishwashing machines.

For IFF, this is another example of its biotech expertise applied to meet today’s greatest performance and environmental challenges. But the team recognizes that they can’t go at it alone.

“There's a tremendous opportunity to reduce energy consumption with biotech,” says Kluit. “The industry, the raw material manufacturers, and the appliance manufacturers all need to get together to make this happen.”

Faster product replacement

IFF’s deep legacy in enzyme development has enabled it to optimize its production processes to keep up with customers’ ongoing needs to quickly implement new products and stay ahead of the competition. And as today’s customers face regulatory challenges with expanding lists of banned ingredients, IFF’s enzyme developers are able to work closely with partners to meet their reformulation needs.

Compared to newer start-ups joining the market, IFF’s team has inside knowledge in many critical processes for industrial biotech, such as oxygen transfer and enzyme recovery after fermentation. “It’s our deep experience running things at lab scale, pilot scale, and full scale. There’s just this historical knowledge that we can leverage when introducing new products into the market,” says Ilkka Kruus, Vice President, Process R&D at IFF.

For one longtime customer, IFF has cut down its product replacement cycle from 10 years to five years, and now it’s moving to three years. “The more we do this, the better we get,” says Cassidy Whitmore, Operations and Business Integration Leader, IFF. “They say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. We’re well beyond that.”


One key to this success has been IFF’s platform hosts. IFF produces a variety of different enzyme types, from proteases to amylases, but it’s standardized the host platforms — the bacteria, yeast, or other microorganisms that produce the enzyme products. “We don’t have to start from scratch. We have a lot of things that are plug and play, so we can introduce new products every year,” says Kruus.
Through the years, IFF’s host platforms have also been optimized to use less raw material inputs and less energy to produce more products.
“That’s the fun part about biotechnology,” says Whitmore. “With chemical processes, the 99% theoretical limit is all you can do. Whereas with biotech you can find a new strain that raises the theoretical limit, so that’s an exciting thing we bring into the future.”


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