News Alert

World’s first bio-based Vitamin A begins application testing with cosmetics customers after DSM’s scientific breakthrough

Kaiseraugst, CH, 28 June 2022

Royal DSM, a global purpose-led science-based company, announces that it has begun customer sampling of the world’s first fully bio-based Vitamin A. It follows pioneering research by the company’s scientists and the development of a proprietary manufacturing process that has been perfected for initial use in environmentally-conscious cosmetics products. Commercial-scale production for a wide range of end uses, including for additional human and animal health applications will follow.

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for good health, including benefiting the immune and digestive systems. It is also one of the most potent anti-aging compounds used widely in treatments to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, blemishes and to increase collagen production.

Manufacturing Vitamin A at scale was first made possible following a scientific discovery in 1947 at Hoffmann-La Roche (from which DSM acquired the vitamins business in 2003). Today, DSM is the world’s leading producer of Vitamin A, creating the vital ingredient at a state-of-the-art facility in Sisseln, Switzerland, from where it is then applied in human and animal health products, in food and in feed, as well as for personal care and cosmetics markets around the world.

Pioneering research by DSM has led to a new scientific breakthrough whereby it is now possible to produce Vitamin A using a specially developed strain of yeast that converts a renewable carbon source into Vitamin A. The nature-inspired process has since been refined and proven to be scalable thanks to a global collaboration across six DSM facilities (Lexington and Columbia, US; Delft, Netherlands; Grenzach, Germany; Kaiseraugst and Sisseln, Switzerland). This fully bio-based proprietary production method has the potential to transform the industry, providing a major leap forward for the environmental ambitions of DSM and DSM’s customers across the personal care and cosmetics, food, human health, and animal health markets.

Ronald Gebhard, DSM’s VP Biosciences & Process Innovation, commented: “We realized we had something revolutionary at hand when we first isolated Vitamin A out of a bio-broth with a profile consistent to our existing process. Our new fully bio-based process relies on commonly available renewable raw materials and results in a lower carbon footprint and less waste while still delivering the industry-beating quality expected of DSM. Drawing upon the power of nature and our own scientific heritage, we are radically transforming how vitamins are made. Our pioneering work is a testament to our scientific capabilities and the passion of our scientists around the world who are striving to create better health for people and the planet”.

DSM is initially producing bio-based Vitamin A for the personal care market where there is an established and increasing consumer demand for high-performance, renewable cosmetic ingredients. Application testing is now underway with the first selected customers and representative material is available for sampling ahead of a commercial-scale production and a full launch in early 2023.

Parand Salmassinia, DSM’s VP Personal Care & Aroma, said: “Vitamin A is one of the most in-demand and trusted cosmetic ingredients on the market and we will now be able to offer an alternative with significant environmental advantages. Our innovation will help DSM’s customers lead their product categories in sustainability, offering a considerable contribution to their climate change actions and net zero goals. We are seeing an overwhelmingly positive response and look forward to commercializing this innovation in the personal care industry starting next year”.

The new bio-based Vitamin A will be offered alongside DSM’s existing nature-identical synthetic products, increasing customer choice in the market. Vitamin A has various nutritional uses and benefits in supporting human and animal health and DSM is developing further applications for these markets with testing soon to get underway.

Joerg von-Allmen, DSM’s Vice President, Vitamins Category Management, explained: “Until now, the only way to meet the growing demand for Vitamin A has been to build new multi-step chemical production facilities requiring more finite resources. DSM’s new bio-based process will significantly reduce the carbon footprint and waste of Vitamin A manufacturing while still producing the top-quality customers expect. Going forward, we will increase our manufacturing capacity only through our bio-based process using renewable resources. As a vocal climate action advocate and leader in this field, we expect this breakthrough to trigger all Vitamin A manufacturers worldwide to reconsider how they will invest to accelerate the transition to a healthier future for people and the planet away from the traditional chemical processes that are based on finite resources”.

For more information

Madina Sautova

DSM Nutritional Products
Personal Care & Aroma Ingredients Communications
+41 61 815 72 11