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Enzymes are used in a wide range of industries for a number of reasons, the main one being that they accelerate reactions by l

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Introduction

The Uses of Enzymes in Industry & Medicine Enzymes are used in a wide range of industries for a number of reasons, the main one being that they accelerate reactions by lowering the activation energy. Enzymes are proteins with specifically shaped active sights that have charges on their surfaces. This means that they react with only one substrate to produce a specific product minimising the production of unwanted by-products. They work at neutral pH and standard atmospheric temperature and pressure, and so are energy saving as well as being relatively inexpensive to produce. The fact that they are biodegradable makes them environmentally friendly and means that they cause minimal pollution. The majority of enzymes which industries use originate from microbes; other alternatives include plants and animals. Microbes are generally the preferred source because they are generally cheaper to produce. However, enzymes do have some disadvantages. They are extremely sensitive to changes in pH and temperature. As the temperature increases so does the rate of reaction until the optimum temperature is reached. However, the pH must be kept neutral, if it becomes too acidic or alkaline, then the enzymes denature. For this reason for the commercial use of enzymes it is better to choose enzymes with a fairly broad optimum pH range. ...read more.

Middle

This particular enzyme is used in the immobilised form because it is quite expensive to produce, it is cheaper to recover the enzyme and reuse them. Enzymes have been employed in the detergent industry for years, they are depended upon to remove proteins, starches and lipids, which can originate from blood, grass, sweat, milk etc. The main enzyme used in the detergent industry initially was protease, which catalyses the breakdown of protein molecules such as blood. However, recent developments have introduced a variety of different enzymes into detergents, these included lipases and amylases. Lipases concentrate on the breakdown of fatty substances such as oils, they hydrolyse the ester bonds in triglycerides, which are a major component of fats. Amylase focuses on the breakdown of starchy deposits, from products such as food. The advantage of using these enzymes is that they are specific, thus removing the desired stain without damaging fabrics. Cellulases were also introduced because when detergents were used small fibres are raised from the surface of cotton thread, resulting in a change in the 'feel' of the fabric and a dulling of the colours. Cellulase removes the small fibres without damaging surrounding, major fibres. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example "the loss of colour in fruits can be due to hydrolysis of anthocyanins and changes in carotenoid pigments." (Biological Sciences Review May 1998). Enzymes are also put to work in pharmaceuticals and diagnostic industries, however, the applications of enzymes have not been as extensive as other industries. The most successful applications are extra cellular enzymes, enzymes that are secreted by the micro-organism that creates them. Enzymes have been used to treat genetic disorders by replacing naturally produced enzymes. Enzymes are used in a wide variety of industries, from enhancing flavour in foods to additives in detergents, from brewing beer to making apple juice. They provide many advantages for huge range of industrial processes and are vital in the everyday running of the modern world. They have benefited industries in terms of cost, with the introduction of techniques such as enzyme immobilisation and allow such processes that would otherwise be too expensive and time consuming. Enzymes have been widely used in the food industries making the market more competitive and they have saved millions of lives by helping in medicine and pharmaceuticals . Consequently, enzymes will be used further in the future as technology progresses. In addition they are a vital part of a number of diverse industrial processes and there use will be vital if technology is to continue advancing. ...read more.

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