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The application of enzymes in Industry and Medicine.

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THE APPLICATION OF ENZYMES IN INDUSTRY AND MEDICINE Enzymes are biological catalysts that lower the activation energy for a reaction to take place. Enzymes have many advantageous qualities that allow them to be used in industry and medicine: * Enzymes are not used up in reactions; each molecule repeatedly carries out the same process. This makes enzyme technology very efficient as enzymes can be reused. * They have specificity. One type of enzyme will decompose one substrate into a particular product therefore there is no wastage of resources. * Enzymes are biodegradable; therefore there is little pollution in this industry. * Enzymes function at moderate temperatures, pressure and pH so energy is saved. Until recently most biotechnology involved whole organisms therefore many enzyme pathways were involved but now isolated enzymes can be used. There is still a lot of biotechnology taking place using whole organisms though e.g. yeast used in baking and alcohol production. ...read more.


Therefore the word "fermentation" could be used to describe enzyme technology. Probably, the most important type of "fermentation" as scientists use the term, is alcoholic fermentation. The enzymes: diastase, zymase and invertase break down starch by hydrolysis into complex sugars, then simple sugars, and finally alcohol. Hemicellulases such as amyloglucosidase can then be used to break down sugars again to produce low-calorie beer which is now more desirable in the industry. Isolated enzymes can be used in food manufacture and have been for many years. One example of which is cheese manufacture. After the lactic acid bacteria in the milk converts the lactose to lactic acid by the use of the enzyme lactase, curd and whey begin to separate and the process is encouraged by the addition of the enzyme rennet. Rennet is found in the stomach of milk-drinking mammals. To obtain rennet for cheese making it is usually extracted from the lining of the stomach of a calf, dried as a powder, then dissolved in water as required. ...read more.


When fixed onto a strip of gel together with a dye, a change in colour appears when the enzymes are active. Rhodococcus breaks down heroin to morphine and then Pseudomonas breaks down the morphine and by doing so a chemical change occurs which causes the colourless dye to turn red. When samples of unknown substances are placed on the gel or blood plasma, the presence or lack of presence of heroin can be detected. This drug is illegal and therefore these enzymes have great potential. Some animal feed industries have formed from the waste products of agricultural forestry. Most wood waste is not very useful as it contains lignocellulose and few organisms can break this down to form useful products but lignases from Sporotrichum pulverulentum make cellulose available for animal feed as they can break down the waste lignocellulose to useful products. Biological washing powders are so called because they contain biological enzymes. These enzymes can break down organic stains on the clothing being washed and therefore remove stubborn stains from the clothes. These enzymes are mainly proteases and are very valuable digestive enzymes. ...read more.

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