Keclon is an Argentine biotechnology company dedicated to the development of industrial enzymes. Our technology platform allows the rapid generation of new and improved enzymes using genetic engineering tools, synthetic biology, and directed evolution. These designer enzymes can significantly reduce production costs by, for example, increasing mass yield in the purification of edible oils, or improve biodiesel quality by eliminating its main impurities. Keclon's enzymatic processes not only are economically competitive but also environmentally friendly, reducing the use of aggressive chemicals such as acids and strong bases.
      Keclon has established a productive approach for rapid and continuous design, development and patenting new enzymatic processes.  The company has state-of-the-art laboratories, a unique R&D team, a pilot plant, and the ability of industrial-scale enzyme production. Keclon has facilities in the cities of Rosario and San Lorenzo, Argentina, right at the epicenter of the most important oil industrial cluster in the world.
      One of these families of enzymes, called phospholipases, selectively degrade phospholipids, the major impurities of vegetable oils. Phospholipases are the basis for Enzymatic Degumming (ED), a relatively novel approach for refining of crude vegetable oils. The oil industry is rapidly adopting ED, migrating from more traditional physical and chemical systems in favor of novel enzymatic ones. Two main benefits of ED support its adoption. First, the higher yield obtained using ED over traditional chemical degumming (at least 2.0% p/p of extra yield). Secondly, ED offers savings by the reduction or elimination of chemicals used in the process but also via the reduction of by-products and effluents, resulting in less pollution, and gas emissions. At Keclon we have developed a collection of highly efficient lipophilic enzymes for ED, which can be adapted to each specific process in oil production.
      At Keclon we have developed a unique and novel enzymatic process for the treatment of biodiesel, which allows the elimination of steryl glycosides (SGs), biodiesel's main impurity. These molecules form insoluble precipitates that compromise the quality of the final biodiesel product by clogging car filters. Keclon's enzyme makes it possible to obtain a biodiesel with the highest quality standards, reducing the levels of total contamination to values
​​similar to that of distilled biodiesel at costs that an order of magnitude lower.
      Keclon is led by a team of internationally recognized entrepreneurs and scientists, with extensive experience in the different aspects of biotech research, development, and commercialization. Our group includes pioneer biotech entrepreneurs, experienced venture capitalists, experienced Ag investors, and the largest consumer of ED in the world. This group provides a unique combination of financial, technical, and strategic resources to Keclon.

Focus on oil: Keclon’s products transform the vegetable oil value chain into a modern oil Enzyme-based biorefinery - we are focused on maximizing value in the vegetable oil value chain via the introduction of innovative enzymatic solutions

By oil producers for oil producers: our products are developed in direct collaboration with major oil producers and provide truly valuable solutions

Commitment to success: Personalized post-sale support and pre-implementation customization of enzymatic solutions

Validated innovative products: Strategic partnership with one of the biggest users of enzymatic degumming in the world.
• Validated innovative products: strategic partnership with one of the main users of enzymatic degumming in the world. In biodiesel treatment, large-scale test successfully done

Large state-of-the-art enzyme manufacturing facility: Local production give us the flexibility to respond to the needs of our regional customers

Hugo Menzella, Menzella is the leader of the company's scientific team and has more than 20 years of experience in the development of industrial enzymes. Since 2009, he is researcher at CONICET and a Professor in Bioprocess Engineering at the University of Rosario, Argentina (UNR). Previously, Hugo worked for five years at Kosan Biosciences (USA), developing synthetic biology tools for the generation of anticancer drugs. He graduated as a biochemist at the National University of Rosario (UNR), and holds a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences.


Salvador Peirú, leads Keclon's operational research efforts. Prior to Keclon, he worked as a researcher for Kosan Biosciences (USA) and Nedken (Argentina). He has been part of several research groups in avant-garde projects at the biotechnological level from the UNR and CONICET. Salvador graduated in biotechnology at the UNR, where he subsequently completed a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences and a post-doctorate in synthetic biology. Salvador is currently a researcher at CONICET.


Leandro Vetcher, is Associate Director Business Development, Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator, Harvard University.
Founder and Director at Keclon SA.Leandro's experiences include evaluating early-stage companies and therapeutic innovations, seed investing in new companies from top academic centers, completing university licensing deals, launching new companies and securing venture capital financing, successful operational and management roles in R&D, designing an innovative strategic alliance with an international pharmaceutical company, and the development of an M&A strategy for a major pharmaceutical company. Overall, Leandro brings a proven record of leading and negotiating complex life science transactions, significant experience in the identification and evaluation of business development opportunities in multiple therapeutic areas, deep scientific knowledge and operational experience in biotechnology, persuasive communication skills, and strong interpersonal intelligence. All these, also combined with a broad business network with top life sciences entrepreneurs communities, academic centers, venture investors, and pharmaceutical companies.Prior to joining Harvard, Leandro was CEO and co-founder of Green Pacific Biologicals, a company with labs in the US and Chile, as well as a co-founder of the Argentina-based company, Keclon. Previously, he held research and business development positions at Kosan Biosciences and was an MBA intern with the Johnson & Johnson’s Mergers & Acquisitions team.  Leandro earned an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Masters in Biotechnology from Columbia University, and a Licentiate in Biotechnology from Rosario National University in Argentina.


Sebastian Bernales, is a scientific advisor to the Keclon team. Sebastian studied Bachelor of Science and Biochemistry at the Catholic University of Chile. Then, he did a Ph.D. and postdoctoral degree in cell biology at the University of California, San Francisco (USA). Currently, as Director of Research, from the Science & Life Foundation (Chile), he directs the research operations in Chile of the North American biotechnology company Medivation Inc. for the development of new therapies against different human diseases, including prostate cancer. He is also Scientific Director of the EcoScience Foundation.


Rodolfo Cabrera, is responsible for Quality, Products, and Development of Unitec Bio (Argentina), one of the largest biodiesel producers in Argentina. He has worked for more than 15 years in various oil industries and has extensive experience in analytical chemistry of oils and biodiesel. Rodolfo holds a degree in Biotechnology from UNR, where he also worked as a teacher. He has been a member of AOCS since 2010. He is currently a Technical Advisor to the Argentine Chamber of Biodiesel (CARBIO) and a private consultant.


Andrés Aguirre, is part of the scientific team of the company since 2012, where he carries out the development of enzymes and industrial processes for the treatment of biodiesel and oils. Previously, he was part of the company producing agricultural inputs Prodinsa Argentina S.A. as Head of Development of Biological Products and Quality Control. He graduated with a degree in Biotechnology from the National University of Rosario, where he later completed his doctoral (Ph.D.) and post-doctoral studies in Microbiology; He is currently a CONICET researcher. He has a vast experience in the use of tools of molecular biology, physiology and bacterial genetics, and in industrial fermentations.


María Eugenia Castelli, Castelli is in charge of the development of phospholipases for enzymatic degumming of oils and has a vast experience in the use of tools of molecular biology, physiology, and microbial genetics. M. Eugenia completed her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at the National University of Rosario. She is currently a researcher at CONICET and a teacher at the UNR.


Lisandro Bril, is a Managing Partner of AxVentures - PYMAR Fund, a venture capital fund focused on innovative technological projects with high growth potential aimed at regional/global markets. He is the Director of Alta Ventures Fund, and Axia Ventures Company Builder, and of the companies Technisys,, GranData, Zauber, and Pixowl currently in the areas of biotechnology, internet, and software. In the 90s he served as CEO of the i5 Fund (Hicks Muse) and invested in Amtec (today Neoris), and Despegar. He is a co-founder and member of the Board of Directors of the Endeavor Argentina Foundation, the Equity Foundation and the Luminis Foundation. Former Executive Director of Booz Allen & Hamilton Argentina and Chairman of its Advisory Board.Senior Vice President of Spencer Stuart and Korn / Ferry.Former Assistant Secretary of Foreign Trade of Argentina.Former President of the Harvard Club of Argentina. Lisandro holds a degree in Economics (Diploma of Honor) from the University of Buenos Aires and a Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


Agustín Otero Monsegur, He is currently a board member of SA San Miguel, Ganagrin S.A.A.G, and Keclon S.A. He has executed and managed various investments in the Food, Agribusiness and Real Estate sector.
He worked at United Technologies Corporation (NYSE: UTX) in the leadership program in Finance in the United States and was Strategy Director for the operation of Spain and Portugal. He was previously an analyst for the Innova private equity fund where they made investments in Food and Technology where they created the company, of which he was founder and CEO.
Agustín Otero Monsegur has a degree in Business Economics from Di Tella University and an MBA from Darden School of Business. He is currently a member of the Global Advisory Council of Darden School of Business and member of the Advisory Board of Cippec.


Carolina Dams, Since 2014, Carolina has turned to academic life, finished her doctorate, being a professor of Entrepreneurship at the Austral University and of Entrepreneurial Finance at IAE Business School, and assuming the role of Dean at the Faculty of Business Sciences of the Austral University. Previously, he worked at the consulting firm Hermes Management Consulting. In 2005, he co-founded his consulting firm, A2C Advisors, through which he advised the manager of a Venture Capital fund, actively participating in the identification and evaluation of investments, leading the negotiation and structuring processes, and conducting the monitoring of the same. In 2011, he created an angel investment fund that made investments in technology start-ups. She is an investor and mentor of NXTP, director of Keclon SA and member of the Advisory Board of Germinare. Carolina is a Public Accountant at the University of Belgrano and holds an MBA from London Business School. She holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the IAE Business School.


Luis Palacios, joined Oleaginosa Río Cuarto in 1978 as a member of the Executive Board of T6. In 1989 he joined Molinos Rio de la Plata performing in various management positions. Between 1998 and 2016 he was Industrial Operations and Projects Manager, having in charge of the industrial operations of Molinos being Director in the expansion project of the San Lorenzo Plant, and in the design and construction of the RenovaTimbúes Plant. Since 2016 he is Manager of Innovation and Technological Development of Molinos Agro


Rodolfo Cabrera, is responsible for Quality, Products, and Development of Unitec Bio (Argentina), one of the largest biodiesel producers in Argentina. He has worked for more than 15 years in various oil industries and has extensive experience in analytical chemistry of oils and biodiesel. Rodolfo holds a degree in Biotechnology from UNR, where he also worked as a teacher. He has been a member of AOCS since 2010. He is currently a Technical Advisor to the Argentine Chamber of Biodiesel (CARBIO) and a private consultant.


Enzymatic treatment of vegetable oils

Enzymatic degumming
      Keclon has developed an exclusive enzymatic solution that offers an alternative to conventional aqueous degumming of raw vegetable oil. Among the different advantages of Keclon's enzymatic methods are the extra-yield of degummed oil, lower refining costs, all these combined with a reduction in by-products, effluents, and waste products. Keclon enzymatic process is superior to aqueous and chemical degumming by offering a reduction in losses due to occluded oil greater than 2.0% w/w and implementation costs that advantageous and affordable.
      Keclon enzymatic degumming uses a mixture of enzymes that specifically reacts with the phospholipids (PL) present in the crude oil. This combination of phospholipases converts the PLs phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and phosphatidylinositol (PI) into diacylglycerides (DAG), which are recovered in the oil phase, releasing the polar heads of the PLs, which are soluble in water. The reduction of PLs concentration leads to a reduced formation of emulsions translating into a lower amount of oil dragged with the aqueous phase. The interfaces are also sharper enabling a much easier separation of the phases. In addition, the DAG produced in the hydrolysis of the PLs increase the oil phase, resulting in an increase in the overall oil yield.

Enzymatic treatment of vegetable oil gums

      Keclon has developed a product for the enzymatic treatment of separated gums obtained by aqueous degumming.  This alternative achieves similar extra yield performance than enzymatic degumming on crude oil but without the CapEx associated with it. Our process allows recovering much of the oil trapped, and at the same time, increase the oil phase by the DAGs obtained from the hydrolysis of the PL.
      With this enzymatic solution, the volume of fat treated is reduced with respect to the enzymatic process to directly treat crude oil. Importantly, this new process gives the oil producers the versatility to choose different uses for the separated gums depending on seasonal commercial demand.

Production of acid oils from oil by-products

      Keclon has developed an acid oil production system that greatly reduces the environmental impact compared to the traditional method that uses strong acids. This process can be applied in different byproducts of the oil industry such as gums, soapstocks, or combinations of both, which are treated by an exclusive Keclon enzyme preparation. The enzymatically obtained acid oils have characteristics superior to those obtained with chemical means and have multiple industrial uses such as consumption in animal feed, synthesis of 2nd generation biodiesel, boiler fuels or heating. All these options have market values much higher than those of the gums and soapstocks, which are the raw materials of origin.

Enzymatic Refinement for Premium Biodiesel

      Biodiesel produced through traditional methods of alkaline transesterification usually presents quality problems due to the formation of insoluble precipitates during its production process. These precipitates bring operational challenges in biodiesel production and, more importantly, compromise the quality of the final biodiesel product by clogging car filters. Steryl glucosides (SGs), natural compounds present in the oils that are used as raw material in the production of biodiesel, are the main agents causing these serious problems. Keclon has developed a proprietary low-cost, high-efficiency biodiesel treatment enzymatic process to remove SGs from biodiesel during its production. This process uses an enzyme called steryl glucosidase (SGase) to degrade SGs. Keclon enzymatic solution is compatible with the most common biodiesel production systems (Lurgi, Desmet Ballestra, and others), and can be introduced prior to the final drying step.
The process of biodiesel treatment with Keclon´s SGase impacts on:
                • Content of total contaminants (TC): Currently many companies produce biodiesel with high TC values. They must perform expensive treatments with absorbents and / or decanting in tanks followed by polishing filtration, adding costs and biodiesel losses, in order to comply with EN 12662 (CT <24 ppm).
                • Cold filtration properties: In ASTM D6751, two different specifications are defined to ensure the quality of cold-incubated biodiesel. It is necessary to comply with the values measured according to ASTM D7501 (Cold Soak Filtration Test (CSFT) <200s for biodiesel grade 1b or CSFT <360 s for biodiesel grade 2b). Soybean biodiesel treated with SGase complies comfortably with the CSFT for both specifications, and also with the quality control tests required by the most demanding international markets for this fuel: FBT (Filter Blocking Tendency - ASTM D2068 standard) and csFBT (cold soak FBT - norm CAN / CGSB - 3.524).
                • Visual appearance (Haze): the presence of turbidity in samples of commercial biodiesel in areas with low temperatures prevents in many cases expanding the market by generating rejects due to non-optimal quality. This treatment results in a clean, bright and particle-free biodiesel in compliance with the requirements of ASTM D4176

Phospholipase cocktail

SGase = Enzyme to clean biodiesel



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