First Greenlandic biotech company established – University of Copenhagen

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09 December 2015

First Greenlandic biotech company established


A sustainable use of one of Greenland's hidden natural resources - cold enzymes - is at the basis of a new biotech company in Greenland. The company, Coldzymes, is a collaboration between Greenlandic and Danish partners and is project under Greenland Perspective.

Coldzymes develops enzymes from microorganisms isolated from cold environments, thus turning a minus - the cold climate of Greenland - into a plus. In addition to this, the work of Coldzymes is environmentally friendly and contributes to reducing the use of fossil fuel globally, proving that concepts and products from Greenland are important to the outside world.

The Ikaite columns

From detergents to food

Cold-active enzymes from Coldzymes may be used in novel industrial processes that are more economic, due to lower consumption of fossil fuel, efficient, due to increased specific activity of cold-active enzymes and not least hygieinic, because food spoilers do not grow at low temperatures.

Coldzymes’ enzymes are developed in accordance with the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Enzymes from the Ikka Fjord

The first enzymes from Coldzymes come from the Ikaite columns in the Ikka Fjord in South-west Greenland. They are permanently cold (4-6°C) and alkaline (above pH 10), and the microorganisms living there and their enzymes are adapted to these conditions. Only a small fraction of the microorganisms from ikaite columns can be cultivated in the laboratory. Consequently, Coldzymes have combined screening methods and have investigated cultivated microorganisms, analysed DNA from uncultured microorganisms, and screened functional expression libraries comprising total DNA from ikaite columns.

Partners from Greenland and Denmark

The Coldzymes company consists of five partners from Greenland and Denmark who are rooted in both research (The University of Copenhagen and the Danish Technical University) and business. Due to the fact that the company is a University spinout, Coldzymes will be participating in teaching at high schools and universities.