"We aim to become even stronger in biotechnology in the future. This is a field that provides us with access to innovative products and new business," said Degussa chairman Utz-Hellmuth Felcht.
ProFerm is part of Degussa's project house concept, which aims to develop and research promising technologies within a fixed period of three years.
With an injection of €20 million, ProFerm has been designed to develop Degussa's fermentation processes and novel microorganisms.
Degussa already uses fermentation - a biotechnical process in which desired substances are created as the metabolic products of microorganisms - in the manufacturing of a large number of products such as amino acids, thickeners and ingredients for cosmetics.
"Modern systems biology involves various sub-disciplines such as genomics and proteomics, which are concerned with the analysis of the entirety of the genes and proteins to be found in an organism. This integral understanding of microorganisms is now making it possible to enhance productivity," said Dr. Alfred Oberholz, responsible for Degussa R&D.
Degussa claims that developing these microorganisms will open up new opportunities in the chemical production of cosmetics as well as strengthening the company's market position.
Two further project houses are currently conducting research in the fields of catalysis and functional polymers.