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Have the uses of enzymes in industry and medicine been of benefit to the society?

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Introduction

Have the uses of enzymes in industry and medicine been of benefit to the society? Enzymes are amazing molecules. They are astonishingly specific and are able to find a substrate 'needle' in a 'haystack' of several others. They have a very high catalytic efficiency and can speed up the chemical reactions by lowering down the activation energy. The enzymes work by a process called the 'lock and key mechanism' by fitting in the specific molecules in the active site and then releasing them after the reaction.3+7 Enzymes play a very important role in the medicine and the industry today. The detergent industry is one of the largest outlets for industrial enzymes. The enzyme, protease is used to remove protein stains like blood, grass, egg and human sweat. 4 Lipases digests fatty stains and amylase removes starch stains. Some washing powders may contain cellulase complex, which is used to modify the microfibrils that develop when the cotton fabrics have been washed several times. This softens the fabric and brightens the colours and also removes the dirt. 4+6 A large amount of enzymes is used in the fruit juice production. A substance called pectin holds the plant cell wall together. As the fruit ripens, proteolytic enzymes are produced which convert the insoluble protopectin into soluble forms. 3 These soluble forms enter the juice when the fruit is mashed to produce the juice. ...read more.

Middle

Degrading the proteins into peptides can improve the nutritional value of the treated milk. 5 As well as industry, enzymes play a very important role in medicine. L-asparaginase is used to breakdown the L-asparagine. L-asparaginase is used for cancer therapy, as L-asparagine is an important factor in tumour growth. 2 Enzymes are also used to detect levels of different substances in the blood. Cholesterol oxidase is used to detect the cholesterol level in the blood by oxidising the cholesterol. 2 It is important to know ones cholesterol level because too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to blood vessels being blocked up with fat which may lead to heart related diseases. 10 Similarly, glucose is always measured by using the enzyme glucose oxidase.2 Strips of paper impregnated with glucose oxidase are used by diabetics to monitor their blood sugar. 10 Glucose oxidase metabolises the glucose when a drop of blood is added to the strip and a series of reactions produce a measurable colour change which is proportional to the amount of glucose. 10+8 Urokinase is an enzyme, which is used for the removal of fibrin clots after the heart attack by the plasminogen activation. 2 Another enzyme acetylcholinesterase is used for hydrolysis of acetylcholine and is needed for the operation of nerves. 9 Restriction enzymes occur naturally in bacteria and are used for the isolation of genes. ...read more.

Conclusion

Journals 5) Denny, G. (May 2000) Enzyme technology. Biological sciences reviews 26 - 27 Some information about the history of the enzymes. Some useful detail about the uses of enzymes in selected industries. Language used is very scientific and is not very straightforward to follow. 6)Robson, G. Weibe, M. (Jan 2001) Enzymes from fungi. Biological sciences reviews 19 - 21 some detail about the fungal enzymes and fungi as cell factories which is not quite relevant for the topic. However, has a useful section on the uses of enzymes in the detergent industry. Internet 7) http://www.educ.um.edu.mt/Educ/Dmste/StudentsProjects/ CoolScientists/enzymes/euse11.htm A very easy and a straightforward website to follow. Provides information in bullet points and uses animations and graphics to present the information in a very simple form. Has a lot of information about what enzymes are and their properties but has a little about their uses. 8) http://www.dyadic-group.com/enzymes.htm Has a lot of information about the enzymes. What they are, how they are produced, where their products are used. Uses a very scientific language and the examples given are very brief. 9) http://ull.chemistry.uakron.edu/genobc/Chapter_20/ Some good and brief examples about how enzymes are used in industry. A lot of basic in formation about the enzymes and their structure. A very simple website to follow. 10) http://www.enzymes.co.uk Has a lot of information about the uses of enzymes in industries. Also has a little information on the uses of enzymes in pharmaceuticals. Fakhra Yusuf Biology research paper 1 ...read more.

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