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The Applications of Enzymes in Industry and Medicine.

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Introduction

Jonathan Dryden The Applications of Enzymes in Industry and Medicine Enzymes have a wide range of applications and they are used in industry and in medicine to perform numerous different tasks to get specific results. The market for commercially produced enzymes is catalysts is very large because enzymes are used in reactions to speed up a specific process therefore making the process cheaper for the company since they work best in aqueous solutions at atmospheric pressure and at low temperatures. Enzymes are used in processes such as beer brewing, drug manufacturing, food manufacturing, in biological detergents, in agriculture, for pharmaceutical uses and even for medical and therapeutic uses. These examples are only a few of the many uses for enzymes and the market is large and ever-growing because of the facility to use microorganisms for the production of pure enzymes in bulk and on demand. Commercially, enzymes have enormous potential. Biological washing powders contain a range of hydrolysing enzymes such as amylases which break down starch stains, lipases which break down lipid stains into fatty acids and glycerol, cellulases which break down the ends of damaged cotton fibres in order to remove "fuzz" produced when cotton is washed, and proteases are also used to break down the many different proteins found in food stains. ...read more.

Middle

The form of the sugar present in the plant materials is made up of polysaccharides such as starch, which are very complex and so cannot be readily utilised. The yeast cells are only capable of converting simple sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. These simple sugars were traditionally released by a process of malting where the barley was allowed to partly germinate so that the endogenous enzymes which were released would degrade the starch and protein into simple sugars and amino acids which could be utilised by the yeast cells. This was an expensive way to manufacture enzymes and today industrial enzymes such as amyloglucosidase are produced much more cheaply and result in the production of the same simple sugars and amino acids that tradition malting would liberate. Other enzymes are also used to improve filtration methods. Xylanases and gluconases break down the viscous polysaccharides of xylan and glucan which used to slow down the filtration of the final beer. This greatly increases the filtration rates. In the baking industry, proteases are used to lower the protein content of flour during biscuit production. ...read more.

Conclusion

Enzymes can be used as direct pharmaceutical products which can be used in the treatment of things such as genetic disorders which are caused by an enzyme deficiency. Enzymes such as restriction endonucleases and DNA polymerases are used in processes such as cloning cells and genetically modifying plants and other organisms and are also used in the field of molecular biology. ELISAs (Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent assay) are used in hospitals to diagnose certain diseases as specific proteins are detected in blood plasma and other fluids. This technique is also used to detect viruses, bacteria and even pregnancies. It works by selecting the protein which is to be detected, and then antibodies which are known to bind to this protein are fixed to a plate. If the protein is present, it will bind to the antibody and all other proteins will be washed away. A second type of antibody which is linked to an enzyme is added to the protein at a different site to the first protein that was added, a specific substrate is then added which will bind to the active site of this enzyme and the product formed is easily detectable as it will be brightly coloured. The product would not form in the plate at the beginning if the protein was not there. ...read more.

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