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How enzyme technology and genetic modification has affected and is affecting society.

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Introduction

How enzyme technology and genetic modification has affected and is affecting society. Enzymes are essential to everyday life. They are essential in the way we live and how our body works. Due to technology they are now used widely in commercial areas and are significant to the advanced technology in medicine. Without these developments the way in which we live would be significantly different with an unestablished medical world. The majority of enzymes come from microorganisms, many of these being fungi. There is increasing evidence of these enzymes being used to break down complex molecules such as starch, fats, cellulose and proteins in various everyday industrial processes in our society. (G .Robson, 2001) The catalysation of these vital chemical reactons is used extensively in modern biotechnology, which includes the use of enzymes in products such as washing powders, certain foods, and drinks encorporating the label of 'diet'. The development of 'diet' drinks has become a massivly debated topic of today's society. With modern day pressures on both men and women to be a desirable shape, the breakthrough in enzyme technology has brought about a new way of marketing. ...read more.

Middle

However, enzymatic treatments are now a major way of producuing sweetener in the form high fructose syrup from the cheap raw material of starch. This commercially created a mass amount of money and has changed the way many of our food are produced today. This process consists of three main stages with four enzymes, a-amylase, amyloglucosidase, pullulanase and glucose isomerase. The producton of glucose syrup from starch is formed from the treatment of amylolytic enzymes and the glucose may be either sold directly in crystalline form or used as a food ingredient in the production of soft drinks, jams, sweets, confectionary or ice cream. (www.enzymes.co.uk) Fungi produced enzymes are also used in the production of Far-Eastern foods such as soy sauce and miso whilst glucoamylase and cellulase are used in food modification. In the farming industry enzymes are used in animal feeds to aid digestability and increase growth rate. Eg the enzyme phytase is communly found in cereal grains and oil seeds. Farmers hav ebeen able to therefore produce better products and gain more profit aswell as aiding the economy. ...read more.

Conclusion

(G .Robson, Jan. 2001) Commercial advances such as these produce profit on a high scale which in turn benefits the economy as well as the way in which we live. In the medical world genetically engineered microorganisms can mean large amounts of insulin and human growth hormone are able to be produced. They can be produced commercially and cheaply in this way and are then used in many instances. People who suffer from diabetes can use the insulin themselves to help with the symptoms of tremendous thirst and tiredness. Human gene therapy is a now vital way in curing genetic disorders e.g severe combined immune deficiency (SCID). However the continuos development of genetic engerneering is a dangerous prospect for the society if taken out of hand. If particular genes can be inserted into egg and sperm cells to prevent death, it could also be used to give idivduals characteristics that are considered to be desirable. This has raised great debates on how such a thing could change the society wwe are living in with the potential of 'designer babies'. To many people it is unacceptable as it could result in lack of individuality and the eradication of less powerful ethinic groups. Laura Thomas Biology Enzymes - 1 - ...read more.

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