One of the emerging technologies for the cleaning industry that I find very exciting is biotech. Also known as “biological” cleaning products, they provide clear win-win benefits for both cleaning businesses and the environment.

Biotech cleaning products are based on enzymes, which are found in every living organism. They are nature’s tools —biodegradable proteins that speed up vital biological processes. For example, enzymes in our stomach cut food into smaller pieces so it can be transformed into energy. When enzymes are finished with their work, they are absorbed back into nature’s cycle.

Enzyme-based cleaners are increasingly being used instead of synthetic chemicals throughout the cleaning industry: in food service, hospitality health care, factories, schools, jails, sporting venues and other large public facilities.

They are used to clean and deodorize carpets, hard floors, kitchens and bathrooms, eliminate grease from cracks, grout, and hard floors, and even to keep urinals smelling fresh. They remove deposits on pipes, and clear drains and keep lines free-running and odor-free. They do all this while being environmental benign.

Many people aren’t aware that these ingredients already comprise almost 4 percent of the chemicals used by janitorial suppliers. Why would building service contractors use enzymes to clean floors instead of synthetic chemicals? Enzymes can perform better. They are completely biodegradable, which reduces your waste stream and the need for undesirable chemicals.

Among the many benefits of using enzymes are their safety, long-lasting cleaning ability and cost-effectiveness. They go beyond cleaning well — the microbes continue to eliminate residual organics after the job is done. And, using them can reduce the risk, regulatory headaches and potential liability associated with using more hazardous chemicals.

Novozymes A/S (NZYMb.CO), based in Denmark, is the world leader in biotech-based industrial enzymes and microorganisms. They find enzymes by growing microorganisms like bacteria and fungi. This is where biotechnology comes in — since the perfect microorganism is so hard to find, scientists combine the best traits of more than one organism. Scientists can adjust DNA sequences to make new enzymes.

Novozymes' enzymes are not only used in the cleaning industry. The company's enzymes can be found maintaining septic tanks, industrial treatment and wastewater plants, converting plant matter to ethanol, and in the pharmaceutical industry.

In fact, enzymes are a wonderful example of how much we can gain by modeling our products on nature. I believe these and other products that use nature as the formulation guide will become the core ingredients for industry going forward.