• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Molecules & Cells section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Molecules & Cells essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Effect of temperature on the enzyme pectinase in fruit juice production.

    3 star(s)

    This effect is the higher the temperature the more efficiently Pectinase works until the optimum temperature, whish believe is between 35-40 degrees at which Pectinase works best. At higher temperatures past this optimum, Pectinase is less effective until a certain temperature at which it denatures and can no longer function, I still believe this temperature to be at 70 degrees.

  2. All flesh is grass.

    These are able to convert nitrogen gas into ammonia. This is a biological version of the Haber-Bosch process; however it is far more efficient and occurs at low temperatures and at atmospheric pressure, whereas the chemical equivalent requires temperatures of 300� to 500�, high pressures and an iron catalyst.

  1. Liver and its role

    However I will talk more detail about the possible sources of error in the evaluation section. I have decided to process my graph data in the way to get to know the value of the initial rate of reaction values.

  2. Cost effectiveness of mainstream bench cleaners against generic supermarket cleaners on the number of ...

    I need to be able to identify which cleaner has been used for the agar plates in order to identify the appropriate percentage decrease in bacterial colonies. 8. Incubate all agars for 48 hours to allow for sufficient bacterial growth.


    I will use cylinders rather than as beaker as I feel it is easier to transfer the content. I will then need to acquire 2cm lactase enzyme to convert the lactose into glucose and galactose. Also 8cm of alginate solution will be needed, to mix with the lactase to make the beads.

  2. The Application of Enzymes in Industry and Medicine.

    Enzymes are fairly unstable, as displayed previously and can be denatured during industrial process environments. But some organisms such as the thermophillic bacteria have evolved to live in the hot conditions of volcanic springs. They produce thermostable enzymes, which can with stand hot temperatures of up to 75?C, they also display tolerance to organic solvents and pH extremes.

  1. Current and future biotechnological applications of Extremophiles.

    Psychrotolerant organisms also come under the category of psychrophiles. These are organisms that can tolerate cold environments, but grow slowly. If the water within a cell is frozen, this will most likely be lethal. Some mechanisms for survival of these psychrophiles are to avoid freezing, (by producing special proteins called

  2. Investigation into Pectinase

    Considering 100% concentration is extremely expensive and can be potentially dangerous and 20% works just as well seeing as it is a fifth of the 100% concentration but produces higher results than a fifth I shall use it in my experiment.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work