Protein production and discovery

Proteins can be used to solve global challenges by using nature’s own tools. At VTT, we discover novel enzymes and other proteins, and engineer them for diverse applications.

Key facts about protein production and discovery

Discovering novel enzymes and other proteins

Developing protein production systems in microbes, plant cells and plants

Enhancing productivity: Trichoderma reesei is capable of producing over 110 g/L of total protein mixture

Our work with proteins is to discover novel activities, to characterise reaction mechanisms as well as to improve properties through modern protein engineering techniques.  

We have, for example, engineered a yeast strain capable of consolidated bioprocessing for Mascoma Corporation. It reduced the need for external enzymes about 50%, improving significantly the economics of bioethanol production. 

World-class development of protein production systems

We offer world-class protein production systems in microbes, plant cells and plants. We also carry out research to understand the molecular background and physiology of protein production.  

Our customers benefit from our knowledge and experience by getting proteins produced efficiently or by advancing their own protein production technology. Our microbial productions strains are also available for licensing. 

Solving global challenges one protein at a time

The major global enzyme companies Genencor/DuPont and AB Enzymes have been our long-term research partners. In another protein expression commission for a customer, we produced a recombinant enzyme at a level of 28 g/l.   

Our protein discovery and production expertise can be applied to industries such as biorefineries, materials, food, feed, industrial enzymes, pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper and chemicals.

More than 30 years of experience in protein production technology

VTT is a leading research organisation in the development of the filamentous fungus Trichoderma reesei and Myceliophthora thermophile as production hosts. In T. reesei we produce native enzyme and recombinant protein, develop molecular and systems biology tools, enhance productivity by strain engineering and investigate the host physiology and optimise the fermentation process.  

We express recombinant proteins and improve their productivity also in plants and plant cells, yeasts and bacteria. We also develop efficient high throughput screening procedures in different protein production hosts for enzyme discovery and engineering.

We have long experience and proprietary technology for protein engineering, expression and production system development. We also provide technology transfer of protein production systems and technology to our customers. 

Example cases

AB Enzymes

VTT’s efficient evaluation process led to potent thermo-stable enzymes and enzyme mixtures for a wide range of feedstocks. Protein engineering was then used to enhance the properties of the mixture components. In partnership with AB Enzymes, VTT is revolutionizing the biomass industry.


  • Significantly reduced enzyme dosages for total biomass hydrolysis
  • Versatile market opportunities across biorefinery applications
  • Improved process of producing sugars from biomass

Dyadic International

VTT and Dyadic International have developed a new Myceliophthora thermophila C1 fungus strain for producing vaccine, medicine and therapeutic proteins, including vaccine antigens and bispecific antibodies. VTT utilized its 30+ years of microbial research expertise to achieve this advance in molecular biology and bioprocesses.


  • C1 fungus – a robust and efficient platform for vaccine and therapeutic protein production
  • Accelerated biological medicine development in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies
  • Affordable and better medicines at a lower cost with reduced financial burden on global healthcare

Genencor International

The major global enzyme company Genencor International relies on VTT’s competence in the development of protein production systems using the fungus Trichoderma reesei. This research has improved genetic engineering methods and created a new vector system for gene transfer and screening.


  • Improved enzyme screening technology and protein production hosts
  • Enhanced product portfolios for clients
  • An improved yield of 28 g/l in the production of a recombinant enzyme
Jari Rautio
Jari Rautio
Solution Sales Lead

Demand for food is growing at the same rate as the world population. Food production needs to be both sufficiently efficient and less harmful for the environment than before. The challenge is massive, but big steps have already been taken in the right direction.