Novozymes has filed a patent for its new Ultraflo Max enzyme, which it said was "unique" on the market, because it breaks down the remaining cell walls in the wort to reduce viscosity. This, it said, ensured longer and more consistent filtration cycles regardless of the malt quality used by the brewer. The launch comes only a few weeks after Novozymes unveiled a similar viscosity-reducing enzyme for distillers, named Viscoferm. This, it told BeverageDaily.com, could cut energy costs for distillers by 15 to 25 per cent. Many brewers have faced unprecedented input cost rises over the last couple of years. Prices for energy and raw materials are predicted to increase again in 2007, making efficiency savings in the brewing process paramount. Andrew Fordyce, marketing director for cereal food and beverage industries at Novozymes, said Ultraflo Max would directly help brewers with their bottom line. Novozymes' Ultraflo Max works by attacking levels of both beta-glucans and arabino-xylans. High levels of beta-glucans have for some time been linked to shorter filtration cycles because they increase viscosity. But more recent research indicates that arabino-xylans are also important. Patrick Patterson, global marketing manager for Novozymes' brewing division, said that even brewers using higher quality malt would see benefits from its new enzyme. "Breweries using well-modified malt get good beer filtration without external enzymes, but Ultraflo Max can help them get even better and longer filtration cycles, leading to an increase in capacity," he said. He added that the enzyme reduced the need for filtering aids, prolonged the life of filters and ensured they required less frequent cleaning.