Thread Number: 73938  /  Tag: Detergents and Additives
Enzyme Development for Detergents - NYT
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Post# 976810   1/4/2018 at 07:37 (194 days old) by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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Interesting read on the the discovery and development of enzymes for laundry detergents:


"Modern detergents contain as many as eight different enzymes. In 2016, Novozymes generated about $2.2 billion in revenue and provided enzymes for detergents including Tide, Ariel and Seventh Generation."


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Post# 976817 , Reply# 1   1/4/2018 at 08:55 (194 days old) by MrAlex (London, UK)        

Interesting! I wonder if there’s a detergent in uk that has 8 enzymes

Post# 976893 , Reply# 2   1/4/2018 at 20:05 (194 days old) by bajaespuma (Connecticut)        
Thanks for posting this

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Really interesting article.


Bakers still use and reckon with diastase as it is indispensable in the production of most yeasted breads (and Scotch Whiskey and most Beers, btw). If you frequent health food stores, you'll see there are usually two types of malt available for the retail consumer, Diastatic and Non-diastatic. I can tell you from personal experience, diastatic malt makes you fart a whole lot.


Did the Times writer get these things mixed up: "A tenth of a teaspoon of enzymes in a typical European laundry load cuts by half the amount of soap from petrochemicals or palm oil in a detergent."?

Post# 976941 , Reply# 3   1/5/2018 at 05:46 (193 days old) by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        
Mixed up?

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No, probably not. They'll be talking about a scoop of detergent being about 80ml or thereabouts.

As far as I know, only a very small quantity of enzymes is actually required to drastically reduce the amount of surfactants in the detergent.

Non-Biological detergents on the other hand, have to have the full whack of surfactants because they have no enzymes.

I still don't agree with the 'washing below 40 deg Celsius' though. Enzymes tend to work best about that temperature, and you do need warmer water to melt human sebum.

Post# 976946 , Reply# 4   1/5/2018 at 06:17 (193 days old) by iej (Ireland)        

Enzyme based detergents are probably a lot more environmentally friendly.

The British notion that enzymes = harsh is entirely traceable back to tabloid coverage of a rash caused by one of the early detergent reformulations with enzymes in the 70s.

I also wonder sometimes if this is part of the reason why very mouldy washing machines seem to be a feature or these islands more than I've seen anywhere else. The enzymes would probably have serious impact on dissolving biofilms by acting on protein chains, sugar and starches whereas surfactants basically just tackle oily substances.

Combine non bio with short, cool, often over loaded (for wash duration) cycles and you've lots of black mould and other nasties.

I've always used normal biological detergents and I've never had any issue with mouldy machines.

Post# 976956 , Reply# 5   1/5/2018 at 09:14 (193 days old) by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        

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Biological detergents clean much more efficiently per dose.

I don't think we in the UK have a detergent with 8 enzymes. Lidl's Formil had about six though.


'Glycosidase' though, can be a generic term for 'Amylase' (starch), 'Mannanase' (xanthan/guar type gums) and 'Pectinase' functionality.

It would be reasonable to assume that one of Formil's glycosidases might be to break down starches, another used for gums.

What the third one is for, is anyone's guess. It could be a hotter temperature starch 'breaker-upper' (i.e 60 deg C or above), or it might be another gum enzyme. I wouldn't think that it is a pectin enzyme, since Pectate Lyase is already listed - but you never know.

Post# 976981 , Reply# 6   1/5/2018 at 12:47 (193 days old) by MrAlex (London, UK)        

Rolls_rapide - Did you have to contact Lidl for the ingredients? Doesn't proteases break down sebum at 30c?

Post# 976991 , Reply# 7   1/5/2018 at 14:41 (193 days old) by mrboilwash (Munich,Germany)        

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Rolls, the third glycosidase in Lidl`s Formil most likely would be cellulase.

Post# 976993 , Reply# 8   1/5/2018 at 15:06 (193 days old) by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        

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Very possibly - (I completely forgot about that enzyme!) Thanks for reminding me.

Lidl UK have been playing 'funny buggers' regarding detergent information. They previously had a link; now they don't. I complained to them, and got very little response in return.

German Lidl has a more informative site, and they do have a link, but it is not exactly highly visible. You need to have the 8-digit barcode to hand.

I just wish they were a bit more forthcoming regarding information. As it stands, we have separate info sites depending on who actually produces the detergents. We really need only one site, where all the information can be readily accessed.

As usual, it's a complete crock of shit - a bit like we need ONE website for faulty appliance recalls.

Post# 977003 , Reply# 9   1/5/2018 at 16:32 (193 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

I wonder if the little washer at the end of his counter is a modified toy for testing on a micro level or just a toy.

Post# 977004 , Reply# 10   1/5/2018 at 16:43 (193 days old) by 48bencix (Sacramento CA)        
Bucket Wash Tide

A few years ago I got a pouch of Tide from the $.99 store. It was made for the India market and showed how to used it in a 5 gallon pail, bucket wash. So with all of the Enzymatic power, these detergents should work well even in lazy washing systems. I pretty much always use Liquid Tide with Bleach, original scent. Have for many years. I tried Persil, too much perfume. Oxyclean detergent also left a powerful smell on the laundry. Use manufacture's recommended amount which is only about two ounces. I think the enzymes will take care of the body oils at the temperature stated.

Post# 977010 , Reply# 11   1/5/2018 at 17:19 (193 days old) by MrAlex (London, UK)        

Rolls_rapide - Thanks! I’ll have a look at the German site :)

Post# 977090 , Reply# 12   1/6/2018 at 02:51 (192 days old) by MrAlex (London, UK)        

The Formil 2in1 powder only contains 3 enzymes 🙁

Post# 977095 , Reply# 13   1/6/2018 at 03:53 (192 days old) by mrboilwash (Munich,Germany)        

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There are limits regarding how much of a detergent`s surfactants load can be reduced by enzymes.
AFAIK enzymes work by breaking up stains into smaller particles which in turn can be removed more easily by surfactants. They are not capable of keeping those small particles in suspension! I think some detergent manufacturers have already stressed out going low on surfactants too much. This shows in consumer tests when some products score very well in removal of paricular stains but also rather bad in general soil removal because of a redepositing problem.
Great stain removal counts for nothing if the stains are only evenly distributed on the wash load instead of being rinsed away.

Also lets not forget the bulk of dirt in our clothes is oily sebum and not the occasional food stain. While there are lipases in some of the better detergents today they have a rather weak effect and can only help the surfactants to work more efficiently but could never replace them.

No doubt enzymes revolutionized washday and will continue to do so but I think the article is a bit of a promotional read as well.

This post was last edited 01/06/2018 at 07:12
Post# 977100 , Reply# 14   1/6/2018 at 06:22 (192 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
For *normal* soils

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Including body oils while one is thankful for enzymes there are other ways to shift certain marks/soils.

Professional laundries for years relied upon nothing more than soap and sodium sodium metasilicate to get out everything from blood to albumin and other protein based stains. A good dose oxygen bleach will finish off the process. Mind you this requires hot to boiling water, but still.

As have mentioned previously even today commercial laundries largely rely upon chemicals, pH and water temperatures to shift soils and stains. Yes, there are enzyme products available to them, but all such products require certain contact time to be effective. When a domestic Miele washer takes almost two hours to do a wash, that isn't an issue. But when you're total cycle from start to finish is only about 30 to 40 minutes as with commercial laundries, something has to give.

Of course commercial laundries start with a series of cold water flushes and or a pre-wash, that deals with rinsing a good amount of soils/and some marks, plus keeps protein based ones from being set in by starting with a hot wash.

Do believe some detergents now being sold in Europe are designed to work in "quick wash" cycles.

Post# 982451 , Reply# 15   2/12/2018 at 09:16 by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        
6 enzymes...

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... are in the German compact powder 'Ariel Actilift Compact Vollwaschmittel'

Protease, Lipase, Amylase, Cellulase, Mannanase, and 'Lyase' (I presume they mean pectate lyase).

'Henkel's Universal Megaperls' in Germany, seems to have the same enzymes - although one of the listings on had cellulase listed twice, bringing the total to seven:


I was assuming that that was an error. (Hmmm, maybe not an error, as the 'Lavendel Frische' variant also has cellulase listed twice).

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