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23rd December 2019


Developing a Non-Animal Enzyme Alternative for Digestive Aids


The human digestive system is made up of trillions of bacteria and enzymes that are responsible for the break down of food into smaller components. The purpose of breaking down foods into small pieces is to assist the body in absorbing the different components ensuring a foods nutritional value is maximised when consumed. The digestive system can be influenced for many reasons including
environmental factors, health conditions, intolerances and also through the natural ageing process. To combat inefficiencies in the digestive system, enzyme supplements can be consumed to boost an individual’s digestion. A popular supplement to improve digestion is pancreatin. Pancreatin is a combination of digestive enzymes that are produced by the pancreas and are crucial for digesting proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Many pancreatin dietary supplements are sourced from porcine pancreas. Biocatalysts are aware of the growing consumer demand for vegetarian, kosher and halal products. These market demands in addition to supply inconsistencies were key drivers for Biocatalysts to develop a product that was suitable for the kosher and halal market and provided assurance of consistent supply volumes and price levels for customers.


We developed a microbial pancreatin for use in the digestive aids application. Customers required the novel microbial pancreatin to match the same United States Pharmacopeia (USP) units of lipase, protease and amylase activities that are present in animal-derived pancreatin. Therefore, it was important to be able to develop an enzyme formulation that matches the pancreatin USP unit ratios, especially when producing varying pancreatin strengths to meet customer requirements.

Project Challenge

To develop a microbial pancreatin for digestive aids application, that achieves the same internationally recognised standard activity units of amylase, protease and lipase present in the animal-derived pancreatin enzyme blend.



With Biocatalysts’ 35 years’ experience in the speciality enzyme market, we screened our extensive product range and selected an amylase, protease and lipase, that we determined to be the most credible enzyme candidates to meet the required USP units of animal pancreatin. These enzymes were then sent to an external accredited laboratory, for testing using the United States Pharmacopeia and National Formulary (USP-NF) method.

Having obtained the enzyme activity USP units for the selected amylase, protease and lipase from the accredited laboratory, we used our expertise in enzyme formulation to ensure that the correct ratio of enzyme activities were combined together to produce a microbial pancreatin that meets and will maintain the correct activity. Many digestive aids companies request different strengths of pancreatin for their digestive supplements. With Biocatalyst’s experience in how enzymes interact, our technical team are able to scale to create formulation variants of amylase, protease and lipase to offer different strength microbial pancreatin products. If you require a different strength of pancreatin, customised formulations are available on request.
Working closely with customers in the digestive aids market and understanding their experiences and concerns of using animal-derived enzymes, Biocatalysts were able to quickly identify a clear market need for a microbial pancreatin that would perform the same as animal pancreatin but reduced uncertainties and improved the consistency of supply and price of pancreatin. Biocatalysts experience in blending enzymes and developing novel enzymes played a key role in developing a microbial pancreatin. By having a good understanding of the market requirements for pancreatin in the digestive aids market, we were able to combine the three enzymes to exactly match the USP units specification of animal-derived pancreatin that is currently used in digestive aids.

• Kosher and Halal certified to produce enzymes suitable for wider geographic markets
• Improved consistency of supply and price of pancreatin
• Expertise to develop microbial enzymes as alternative to animal-derived enzymes
• Dedicated technical team that can develop enzyme formulations for your specific application requirements