SAN DIEGO -- Diversa Corporation and Bunge Oils Inc. have entered into an agreement to discover and develop novel enzymes optimized for the production of edible oil products with enhanced nutritional or health benefits.



Edible oil products include bottled vegetable and cooking oils, shortenings, margarines, and other products derived from the processing of soybeans, corn, rapeseed and other oilseed plants.



Under the terms of the agreement, Diversa is responsible for discovering, optimizing, and manufacturing enzymes, and Bunge is responsible for commercializing oils using new enzyme-enabled processes. Diversa has received an upfront technology access fee and will receive full research funding for its enzyme discovery and development activities under the project. In addition, Diversa is eligible to receive milestone payments for successful enzyme development activities as well as royalties on products that may be commercialized.



"We are pleased to be working with Bunge, a world leader in oilseed processing and plant oil-based products," stated Edward T. Shonsey, Diversa's Chief Executive Officer. "A key component of Diversa's specialty industrial processes strategy is to develop high-performance enzymes optimized for the specific process conditions used in the edible oil industry, and this collaboration will accelerate our push to commercialization in this strategic area. We believe our customized enzymes can expedite the production of a new generation of superior edible oil products, and we applaud Bunge for recognizing the benefits of using new, innovative oilseed processing techniques."



Dick Goodman, senior vice president and general manager, Bunge Oils, said, "At Bunge, we see enzyme-enabled processes playing an increasingly important role in the rapidly-growing area of vegetable oil production. Global vegetable oil demand has risen by 4.7 percent per annum since 1990. We believe that one of the keys to meeting these increasing market demands is incorporating new process technologies through innovative biotech-based partnerships."



The annual global market for edible oils for 2005 was in excess of $29 billion. Bunge has a broad geographic presence that focuses on areas of high growth, such as Asia and Latin America, and large, high-value markets, such as North America and Europe.



Since 1994, San Diego-based Diversa Corporation has pioneered the development of high-performance specialty enzymes. Diversa possesses the world's broadest array of enzymes derived from bio-diverse environments as well as patented DirectEvolution(R) technologies. Diversa customizes enzymes for manufacturers within the alternative fuel, industrial, and health and nutrition markets to enable higher throughput, lower costs, and improved environmental outcomes.



Bunge North America,the North American operating arm of Bunge Limited, is a vertically integrated food and feed ingredient company, supplying raw and processed agricultural commodities and specialized food ingredients to a wide range of customers in the livestock, poultry, food processor, foodservice and bakery industries. With headquarters in St. Louis, Bunge North America and its subsidiaries operate grain elevators, oilseed processing plants, edible oil refineries and packaging facilities, and corn dry mills in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.



SOURCE: Diversa Corporation via PR NEwswire.