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The Applications of Enzymes in Industry and Medicine

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The Applications of Enzymes in Industry and Medicine Enzymes are produced by living cells, with each cell containing several hundred enzymes. They are extremely specific, only react with one substrate. They are able to speed up the rate of a chemical reactions. All enzymes are proteins and therefore have a tertiary structure. Each enzyme is a specific shape with an active site which is specific to one substrate molecule. When the active site and substrate combine then, enzyme substrate complexes are formed.( Enzymes have several applications in Industry and medicine. Examples are in the paper industry, starch industry, leather industry, pharmaceutical and diagnostic industry, baking industry, beer brewing industry, detergent industry and the wine making industry. In the paper industry, wood is the main source for paper, so the process of pulping involves separating useful cellulose fibres from lignin. The process of pulping can be performed by a chemical process. This chemical process involves Kraft process in which the wood chips are being treated with harsh chemicals until the lignin is dissolved. Enzyme treatment of Kraft pulps have been shown to remove the hemicelluloses bound to the surface of fibres which makes it easier to remove bound lignin components thereby reducing the requirement for chlorine bleaching. ...read more.


Before harsh chemicals were used for this process, but the use of enzymes are less harsh on the fabric. In the textile industry, enzymes are used for the finishing of fabric and clothes. As cellulose is the main component in cotton and other natural fibres, the application of the cellulase enzyme can remove rough protuberances giving a smoother, glossier brighter coloured fabric. This process can also be known as Biopolishing. In the denim industry by applying the enzyme cellulase onto the denim gives it a faded surface garment. This process is known as Biostoning.( Enzymes are also used in the baking industry. The wheat flour in the bread has occurring enzymes that modify the starch. The yeast also has enzymes and helps ferment maltose to produce carbon dioxide that makes the bread rise. In order to produce consistent products, enzymes are used as supplements in the bread baking process. These include xylanase (responsible for water absorption), amylase (helps prolong freshness), protease, glucose oxidase (strengthen gluten) and lipase (stops bread staling).( Beer brewing also involves the use of enzymes. ...read more.


When blood is added to the strip the glucose oxidase metabolises the glucose to a measurable colour change to the amount of glucose in the blood. The presence of enzymes where they should not be found is vital in diagnostic of disease. E.g. enzymes that should only be in the liver may leek into the blood stream and testing the blood can identify liver damage. Therapeutic enzymes are used in medicines to replace enzyme deficiencies in patients. Also the enzyme protease is used in wound therapy in medicine. They are used to clean up the wound and accelerate the healing process. Enzymes can also be used in drug manufacture where the synthesis of drugs is difficult so enzymes are used to perform the chemical procedure. Enzymes can also be used to aid digestion where they are used to supplement amylase, lipase and protease produced mainly by the pancreas. An example is lactose intolerant people where they require lactose as their bodies are not producing it. ( From this essay into the applications of enzymes in industry and medicine, I conclude that enzymes are widely used throughout the world in industries but details of enzymes uses in medicine are hard to find as scientists rarely publish details to the public until they are finalised. ...read more.

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