DSM begins customer sampling of its bio-based vitamin A

NETHERLANDS—Royal DSM, a global purpose-led science-based company, has begun customer sampling of the world’s first fully bio-based vitamin A, an initial step before the commercial-scale production and full launch in 2023.

Initially the bio-based vitamin product will be used in cosmetic applications, however the company said that evaluation for take-up by a wide range of other end markets, including in the area of human and animal health, will follow.

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Vitamin A is an essential ingredient for good health, immunity and digestive systems. In skin care it has proven to be one of the most effective ingredients against signs of aging, making it one of the most in-demand and trusted cosmetic ingredients on the market.

According to Global Market Insights, the Vitamin A Market size exceeded $US 490 million in 2020 and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of over 5% from 2021 and 2027.

Growing awareness of health, affordability due to socioeconomic development, and government initiatives will positively impact the global vitamin A industry expansion.

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.

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Current industrial methods for the production of vitamin A rely on chemical synthesis from petroleum-derived substrates, such as acetone and acetylene.

In house R&D work led to a new scientific breakthrough, making it possible to produce vitamin A using a specially developed strain of yeast that converts a renewable carbon source into vitamin A, explained DSM.

“The moment when we were able to isolate vitamin A out of a bio-broth, with a purity profile similar to the current product, we realized we had something revolutionary at hand,” said Ronald Gebhard, VP of biosciences and process innovation at DSM.

The process has since been refined and proven to be scalable following a collaborative project involving six of its facilities including the company’s Lexington and Columbia sites in the US, the Delft unit in the Netherlands, the Grenzach campus in Germany, and its Kaiseraugst and Sisseln sites in Switzerland.

Whereas until now, the only way to meet the growing demand for vitamin A has been to build new multi-step chemical production facilities requiring more finite resources, DSM said its new bio-based process will significantly reduce the carbon footprint and waste of vitamin A manufacturing while still producing the top-quality customers expect

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 “Our new fully bio-based process relies on commonly available renewable raw materials and results in a lower carbon footprint and less waste,” Gebhard said.

Going forward, the company said it will increase its manufacturing capacity only through its bio-based process using renewable resources.

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