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 M'sian Glove Makers Not Yet Pro-Active On Latex-Pr

M'sian Glove Makers Not Yet Pro-Active On Latex-Protein Allergy

KUALA LUMPUR, July 5 (Bernama) --Novozymes, a Danish biotech company and aworld leader in enzyme R&D, has spent about US$2 million to US$3 millionon R&D to create Savinase, said Riigaard.

"The technology is available to everybody who wants it but the consumerwould have to pay a small premium," he told Bernama in an interview.

Prices of rubber gloves may increase about 10 to 20 percent with the useof the enzyme in their production. But Riigaard says that is very marginalcompared with the potential increase in market share which Malaysianmanufacturers can stand to gain when the medical industry demands fornon-allergy gloves.

With this in mind, Riigaard said it would be now feasible for local glovemakers to absorb the technology rather than losing their markets later.

Both MRB and Novozymes are looking into at whether the enzymes can be usedduring the production or at the finishing stage.

Riigaard sees the need for some changes to the current production line,pointing out that MRB is looking for ways to help manufacturers makechanges with minimal cost.

There are still barriers towards greater use of Savinase because only asmall percentage of the users the world over are demanding fornon-allergic rubber gloves. This has resulted in many manufacturers askingwhy should they invest more to change when there is still a huge demandfor gloves made without Savinase.

"They (local rubber manufacturers) are afraid to go for higher endproducts because they are concerned that their price would be much higherthan the product produced by their Indonesian competitors," said Riigaard.

He, however, said Novozymes would concentrate on selling Savinase toMalaysian rubber glove makers because Malaysia is the world's biggestrubber glove maker with 60 percent of the world market.

In addition, substantial parts of Novozymes' resources in this region arelocated in Malaysia, which also has the world's most advanced rubberresearch institute. "It makes sense to work with the people here.Indonesia and Thailand do not have such high research facilities,"Riigaard said.

Besides wanting to make its presence felt in the rubber glove industry,Novozymes is also working along with the Malaysian Palm Oil PromotionCouncil (MPOPC) to create enzymes that will increase the oil extractionrate (OER) from fresh fruit bunches of oil palms.

It is also working on to modify fats and oils to improve the functionalityand nutritional value of crude palm oil via lipase catalysis, convertingCPO to bio-diesel as a renewable energy source through enzymaticmethylation and enzyme-assisted degradation of oil palm waste and otheragri-wastes to fermentable sugars and for conversion into ethanol asfuel-alcohol.

Novozymes has used Malaysia as its base for the region in the last fouryears but it has been in this country for the past 25 years. The companyholds a 43 percent market share of the global enzymes industry.

It has 3,200 employees worldwide and is represented in 20 countries. Itsells enzymes to more than 120 countries. Over the last five years, it hasintroduced 34 new products.

Riigaard said Novozymes has been conducting biotechnological researchsince 1941 and has introduced every new enzyme to the industry, fromlipases, which removes grease stainses during washing, to amylases, whichare used to manufacture sweeteners.

He said the company would use 11-13 percent of the RM2.3 billion saleslast year for R&D this year. -- BERNAMA

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