Chr. Hansen develops game-changing fermentation process for carmine

Chr. Hansen develops game-changing fermentation process for carmine
Press Release | Jun 18. 2015 07:07 GMT

In collaboration with University of Copenhagen, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences (KU) and Technical University of Denmark, Department of Systems Biology (DTU), researchers from Chr. Hansen have succeeded in producing carmine by a modern fermentation process. The first of a series of patents that protects the technology has been published today.

Carmine is a long-established natural red pigment, used in a broad range of food and beverage applications. The production method relies on cultivation of the cochineal that lives on cactus plants. One kilo of carmine requires manual collection of 100,000 cochineals, which adds significantly to the cost of the natural color.

Researchers from Chr Hansen, KU and DTU have now uncovered the complicated processes involved in the natural production of carmine. Using this insight and state of the art biotechnology the researchers have produced carmine by a modern fermentation process and Chr. Hansen is now filing patents to protect the technology.

Cees de Jong, CEO of Chr. Hansen, says: “This is a potential game-changer for carmine production. The new technology is expected to make production of carmine more cost-efficient and thereby further lower the barriers for conversion to natural colors”.

Excellent position to exploit technology

Fermented carmine is still some years away from commercialization, as the process needs further optimization. Cees de Jong, CEO comments: “When the technology is ready for use, Chr. Hansen has an excellent position to exploit it. Fermentation is our core competence and we are market leading within natural colors”.

For more information on fermented carmine, please contact Finn Okkels, New Technology Manager, Chr. Hansen Natural Colors, on +45 5339 0730 or 

Chr. Hansen is a leading, global bioscience company that develops natural solutions for the food, nutritional, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries. We develop and produce cultures, enzymes, probiotics and natural colors for a rich variety of foods, confectionery, beverages, dietary supplements, animal feed, and plant protection. Our product innovation is based on around 40,000 microbial strains – we like to refer to them as “good bacteria”. Our solutions enable food manufacturers to produce more with less – while also reducing the use of chemicals and other synthetic additives – which makes our products highly relevant in today’s world. Sustainability is an integral part of Chr. Hansen’s vision to improve food and health. In 2019 Chr. Hansen was ranked as the world’s most sustainable company by Corporate Knights thanks to our strong sustainability efforts and our many collaborative partnerships with our customers. We have been delivering value to our partners – and, ultimately, end consumers worldwide – for over 145 years. We are proud that more than one billion people consume products containing our natural ingredients every day. Chr. Hansen was founded in 1874 and is listed on Nasdaq Copenhagen.


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