Chemicals maker DuPont is close to a deal to buy Danish food ingredients and enzymes company Danisco for more than $5 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

A deal could be announced as early as Monday, the paper said.

Buying Danisco, which has a market valuation of about $4.4 billion, would accelerate Wilmington, Delaware-based DuPont's growth into the fast-growing food sector.

It would also enable Dupont to enter a niche in the chemical industry - food additives - long dominated by smaller rival International Flavors and Fragrances Inc.

DuPont and Danisco could not immediately be reached for comment.

Traditionally, DuPont has focused its product lines on chemicals and safety and protection equipment. The firm is most well known for its iconic Kevlar bulletproof vests and Tyvek homewrap, not biologically engineered corn or soybean.

But DuPont's last high-profile acquisition, its 1999 purchase of seed maker Pioneer for $7.7 billion, began a strategy shift toward a so-called megatrend of food and nutrition.

Many analysts at the time saw the price former CEO Charles Holliday paid as too much, though few dispute now that the Pioneer buyout helped save DuPont during the recession of 2008. Holliday is no longer with the company, and now serves as chairman of Bank of America.

The Danisco acquisition, if it happens, would be the first major deal for Chief Executive Ellen Kullman since she took control of DuPont about two years ago.

It would also offer her a chance to leave a lasting legacy on the company, the way Holliday's buyout of Pioneer continues to define his tenure.

Danisco in December posted a bigger rise than expected in second-quarter profits, driven by efficiency measures and sales growth, and nudged up full-year guidance.

(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder and Megan Davies)