GreenLab and Ginkgo Enzyme Services Partner to Break Down 'Forever Chemicals'

Ginkgo Enzyme Services provides companies with end-to-end enzyme discovery and optimization R&D services. Given its extensive expertise in this space and the nature of this particular project, Ginkgo is providing these services under its success-based pricing model, created to help companies de-risk their research and development efforts.

December 19, 2023

5 Min Read
Courtesy of GreenLabs

JONESBORO, Ark. and BOSTON -- GreenLab, an emerging next generation plant-biotechnology company producing complex proteins in corn, today announced a new partnership with Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA), which is building the leading platform for cell programming and biosecurity. GreenLab is developing a product with the purpose of degrading PFAS and will leverage Ginkgo Enzyme Services to discover a novel enzyme of critical importance for use in this application.

Ginkgo Enzyme Services provides companies with end-to-end enzyme discovery and optimization R&D services. Given its extensive expertise in this space and the nature of this particular project, Ginkgo is providing these services under its success-based pricing model, created to help companies de-risk their research and development efforts.

Cornfield Factories

GreenLab's proprietary technology allows it to grow enzymes and other proteins inside a corn kernel. By producing proteins in a cultivated crop, GreenLab can readily scale up production across acres of cornfields, with little additional up-front capital and infrastructure. After the protein of interest is extracted from the kernel with minimal waste, most of the corn used will then proceed along the existing value chain, including food, feed or fuel. GreenLab already has two transformative proteins in commercial production, including manganese peroxidase (a multipurpose environmental remediation solution) and brazzein (which delivers a high-intensity sweetness). 

The PFAS Problem

PFAS, short for "per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances", describes a group of manufactured chemicals that have commonly been used in nonstick and waterproofing agents for decades. They bear the moniker of 'forever chemicals' owing to their enduring nature and inability to break down in the environment. They are associated with many dangerous health effects including cancer, reproductive and immune system harm, and other diseases.

A Kernel of Hope: Bio-Based Solutions to Break Down PFAS

There is currently no known commercial process for degrading these forever chemicals, but GreenLab is on a mission to change that and reverse their perpetual environmental buildup. PFAS degradation is a significantly complex problem, and currently no PFAS-degrading enzymes have been commercialized. GreenLab aims to tackle this difficult enzymological problem by leveraging Ginkgo Enzyme Services to discover and develop a novel enzyme for use in their PFAS degradation application. This project is the first step in a journey that could potentially lead to the first deployment of a commercially viable enzymatic solution that can degrade one of the most recalcitrant chemicals in existence.

Ginkgo Enzyme Services

Ginkgo will lead an metagenomic discovery campaign leveraging its vast metagenomic database to identify a library of PFAS-degrading enzymes. Ginkgo will then use advanced ultra-high throughput screening methods to identify unique enzymes with desired activity and transfer the best candidates to GreenLab. In later stages of this collaboration, Ginkgo will further engage in AI-enabled enzyme engineering to further improve on the discovered enzyme.

"GreenLab is eager to work with Ginkgo towards solving such a massive and prevalent environmental and health problem," said Karen Wilson, CEO of GreenLab. "By leveraging Ginkgo Enzyme Services to conduct our enzyme discovery and development, we believe we're enabling our R&D team to produce, pilot, and deploy our product faster and with less risk than any other option we considered."

"We are thrilled to be working with GreenLab on PFAS degradation, and are ready to utilize our platform to solve such a challenge," said Sneha Srikrishnan, Director Business Development and Product Lead, Proteins. "At Ginkgo, we say that our partners can find the needle they're looking for in our tech stack. We'll be deploying our powerful AI-enabled in-house computational tools, best-in-class enzyme Codebase, and ultra-high throughput screening methods as we seek to find a novel enzyme fit for GreenLab to address this globally important enzymological problem."

Allonnia, the bio-ingenuity company™ dedicated to extracting value where others see waste, plans to work with Ginkgo and GreenLab to help discover a novel enzyme to combat PFAS, and will work with GreenLab as a commercial partner deploying the enzyme in their end-to-end PFAS solution. In doing so, Allonnia is furthering its commitment to the identification of a biological solution for PFAS degradation. The company has already introduced a PFAS separation and concentration solution with EPOC ENVIRO's SAFF unit, a sustainable PFAS remediation technology. Integrating a process for the biodegradation of PFAS concentrate discovered through this project into Allonnia's solution would represent a breakthrough closed-loop approach. Additionally, Allonnia believes that this solution could be expanded in the future to serve as a degradation technology for other applications where there is a significant unmet need today, such as in-situ soil remediation.

To learn more about Ginkgo Enzyme Services and how you can access Ginkgo's success-based pricing, visit

About Ginkgo Bioworks

Ginkgo Bioworks is the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, providing flexible, end-to-end services that solve challenges for organizations across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to pharmaceuticals to industrial and specialty chemicals. Ginkgo's biosecurity and public health unit, Concentric by Ginkgo, is building global infrastructure for biosecurity to empower governments, communities, and public health leaders to prevent, detect and respond to a wide variety of biological threats. For more information, visit and, read our blog, or follow us on social media channels such as X (@Ginkgo and @ConcentricByGBW), Instagram (@GinkgoBioworks and @ConcentricByGinkgo), Threads (@GinkgoBioworks) or LinkedIn.

About GreenLab

GreenLab's mission is to green industry with next-generation plant biotechnology. Our platform transforms a cornfield into the factory of the future. We deliver on biotech's promise of next-generation proteins, end-to-end sustainability and unlimited scalability. GreenLab currently has two patented proteins growing in corn that are already in commercial production and is seeking partners who need to improve the cost, scale or environmental footprint of their protein biomanufacturing. Learn more at, or follow us on X as @GreenLabMfg or on LinkedIn.

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