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Collaborative Success Stories: Picking up Speed

Elemental Enzymes

Elemental Enzymes, a growing University of Missouri startup company, provides ultra-stable proteins that speed up chemical reactions.

Enzymes are widely used in food processing and manufacturing, because they use little energy, are non-toxic and are extremely efficient. Unfortunately, enzymes also pose challenges because they are commonly expensive to produce and typically break down extremely quickly in harsh conditions.

In 2008, MU postdoctoral investigator Brian Thompson and Dr. George Stewart, a professor in the department of Veterinary Pathobiology, were researching bacterial structures when they discovered bacteria which would produce enhanced enzymes. These enhanced enzymes were easily harvested and lasted much longer than traditionally-produced enzymes. This discovery is now the foundation of the technology for Elemental Enzymes, which produces ultra-stable enzymes at lower costs.

The proprietary and patented Elemental Enzymes technology allows enzymes to operate under higher temperatures and last longer in harsh environments or industrial processes—opening marketplaces where enzymes were previously not a viable or commercially consistent option.

Elemental Enzymes has a number of exciting technologies that can be utilized in various agriculture market segments. The company maintains research labs at the MU Life Sciences Business Incubator and recently added an R&D facility in St. Louis, Mo. In 2015, leaders announced a cross-licensing agreement with Bayer Crop Science to further its research on crop productivity.

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Related Initiative(s):
Food for the Future