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Enzymes and their uses.

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An enzyme is a substance that acts as a catalyst in living organisms, increasing the rate at which reactions take place without itself being altered in the process. Without them, reactions in cells would proceed at too slow a rate to sustain life. Enzymes also have valuable industrial and medical applications. The fermenting of wine, brewing of beer and production of leather are the result of catalytic activity of enzymes. The uses of enzymes in medicine include killing disease-causing micro organisms, promoting wound healing, and diagnosing certain diseases. How enzymes work Enzymes are simply globular proteins, they consist of a unique sequence of amino acids, folded into a specific shape with the active site at a particular region, it is here that the substrate binds to allow a reaction to proceed. The enzyme combines reversibly to form an enzyme substrate complex Enzyme + substrate --> enzyme substrate complex This then breaks down to release products as well as the enzyme in an unchanged form, and the cycle will start once again. Enzyme substrate complex --> product + enzyme Enzyme and industry Enzymes are used industrially processes as a result of their very useful properties. They are very specific and so only react with one substrate to release certain products; therefore there are no wasteful products created. They are biodegradable and cause little environmental pollution, they save energy as they work at moderate temperatures, neutral pH and normal atmospheric pressures. ...read more.


It involves processing, filtration to separate cells from solution, centrifugation of the cells and finally drying and packaging. To allow quick and easy removal of enzymes from end products immobilised enzymes are used, these are enzymes bound to a surface e.g. an insoluble matrix such as collagen, this matrix allows the enzymes to be held together in one place and so can be removed and reused. Enzymes in industries 1. The textile industry Enzymes were first used by the textile industry to remove starch paste from fabrics, starch was applied to thread to protect it during weaving. Amylase catalyses the hydrolysis of the starch, it breaks the alpha 1-4 links between the glucose molecules that make up the starch, this forms maltose and a few glucose molecules still bonded together. The process is known as desizing and doesn't harm the fabric. Hydrogen peroxide is often used as a bleach before dyeing fabrics such as cotton, it is necessary that this is removed, to do this the enzyme catalyse is added this breaks down the hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen, this waste is clean and environmentally desirable. Enzymes have also replaced stones in 'stone-washing' this is a designing method used, it has also replaced bleaches, this has resulted in major reduction in power usage as enzymes work at moderate temperatures and do not need to be heated very much. ...read more.


Trypsin and chymotrypsin are used in fibrinolysis, a process that dissolves blood clots. Enzymes help remove metabolic waste and generally improve circulation. Thrombosis is what happens when there are blot clots in damaged blood vessels, these clots can be dislodged and carried around and may block a smaller artery causing a heart attack. As blood clots are a net of fibrin (insoluble proteins in which blood cells are trapped), and they can be digested by enzymes such as trypsin and protease as they are proteins and are converted into amino acids, freeing the trapped blood cells and getting rid of the clot. This process is called fibrinolysis. Enzymes can be used to detect and measure amounts of glucose. The amount of glucose in the blood and urine is a crucial indicator in the diagnosis of Diabetes mellitus, this is when there is a deficiency of insulin resulting in high glucose levels in the blood. It is detected using the enzyme "glucose oxidase" and a biosensor. This instrument uses glucose oxidase as its biological system. The enzyme catalyses the reaction between glucose and oxygen to form gluconic acid. The biosensor then uses the amount of gluconic acid produced to indicate the quantity of glucose and oxygen there was in the blood. Viruses are cell parasites consisting of nucleic acids covered by a protein film. The protein cover of the viruses can be dissolved or at least inactivated by proteolytic enzyme activity which leads to a loss of viral infectivity. ?? ?? ?? ?? Page 1 of 4 ...read more.

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