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The Application of Enzymes in Industry and in Medicine

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Introduction

The Application of Enzymes in Industry and in Medicine Enzymes are biological catalysts, they are chemical compounds made inside the cells of living organisms. Enzymes speed up the rate of most chemical reactions without altering the end product. Enzymes only generally work with one certain substrate. The enzymes provide an active site, which is the same shape as the substrate molecules; the substrate binds with the enzyme and causes the reaction to speed up. Enzymes work best at their optimum temperature. Enzymes are used in the making of many things in the industry. They are used in the dairy industry, brewing industry, baking industry, agricultural forestry, leather industry, biological washing powders and medicine. The use of enzymes in the diagnosis of diseases is one of the most important finds from the intensive research in biochemistry. It is only in the last recent decades that interest in analytical enzymology has grown dramatically. All known enzymes are proteins. They are high molecular weight compounds made up of chains of amino acids linked together by peptide bonds. (See diagram below it shows a typical protein). There are many advantages in using enzymes in industry, one being that they are very specific in their action, they only react with one certain product and are unlikely to produce any unwanted by-products. ...read more.

Middle

Enzymes in agriculture: the only major agricultural area to utilise enzymes is the feeding of monogastric animals. However, there are two applications, which currently utilise enzymes. Biological silage inoculants frequently contain enzymes in addition to lactic acid bacteria. The enzymes in such products partially break down some of the cell wall components of the plant material to be ensiled into soluble sugars. These liberated sugars are then metabolised by the natural or applied lactic acid bacteria such as Lactobacilli or Pediococci into lactic acid, which reduces the pH and so ensiles the crop. Some enzyme preparations have been reported to improve the utilisation of feeds for ruminant animals. The uses of enzymes in arable agriculture especially in the processing of some major crops and in waste disposal systems are areas, which have not been fully investigated. An enzyme in beer brewing essentially involves the production of alcohol by the action of yeasts on plant materials such as barley, maize, sorghum, hops and rice. The yeast cells are capable of converting simple sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. However, most of the sugar present in plant materials is in the form of complex polysaccharides such as starch and cannot be readily utilised. ...read more.

Conclusion

In fact the company Chiroscience was set-up to investigate the use of enzymes in pharmaceutical manufacture. In a semi-therapeutic way, enzymes are also used to aid digestion, both in humans and animals. In humans, enzymes are used to supplement the natural amylase, lipase and protease produced normally by the pancreas. Many ethnic groups also have a problem called lactose intolerance. This means, as these people get older they lose the enzyme lactase (converts lactose into glucose and galactose). This means they cannot ingest milk or dairy products. Lactase supplements help to avoid stomach upsets for these people. In conclusion it is simple to see that life today as we know it, would be very different without enzymes, in fact it would be impossible as enzymes are used everyday by our bodies to perform what some may see as everyday functions. However in regards to industry and medicine, in particular, enzymes play a huge role. They are used in many of the treatments administered to patients and much more. They also play a major role in industry, becoming over the years a huge, huge market. Quite simply although they go unnoticed by many they are owned a great amount of gratitude and as a great immunologist Dr. Pavels Ivdra once said 'Enzymes the unsung heroes' (Medical Journal 1996). ...read more.

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