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The Commercial Applications of Enzyme Technology.

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The Commercial Applications of Enzyme Technology Enzymes have been used in industry and in manufacturing for many hundreds of years. They are more versatile and cheaper than inorganic catalysts as they can catalyse specific reactions at low temperatures, and so have enormous potential in the commercial world. There are many advantages of using enzymes in industrial processes. As each enzyme is specific due to the tertiary structure of amino acids, each will only react to one substrate and less unwanted by-products are produced. They are organic substances, and therefore biodegradable and less environmental pollution is caused. Enzymes are energy saving as they are able to function at moderate states, such as neutral pH, normal atmospheric pressure and at moderate temperatures. However, they are very sensitive to changes in their surrounding environment and a slight change in pH or temperature may cause them to denature. Therefore the conditions must be controlled meticulously. They are also expensive to purify, and in this purified state they are often unstable. Because of their high sensitivity and specificity, enzymes can be used as analytical reagents. ...read more.


A great advantage is that they produce more enzyme molecules in relation to their mass than larger organisms. The organisms grown must be selected so that the enzyme extracted has certain qualities, such as a wide pH tolerance as they may need to work in the presence of chemicals such as sulphur dioxide which inhibit enzyme action, and must be able to tolerate a wide temperature range, between 10-55�C. These properties prevent denaturation by extremes of temperature and pH. The microorganisms must also have simple nutritional requirements, have a high growth rate, be non-pathogenic and not produce toxins or an unpleasant smell. Most enzymes are extracellular, where they are secreted by the microorganism into their surroundings, and then can be extracted easily from the fermenter by filtration. A more complex recovery is required when intracellular enzymes are used; the cells must be broken in order to extract the enzyme from a mixture of the cell's contents of many other enzymes and cell debris. Recent developments use isolated enzymes as there will be no wasteful side reactions and a single product is formed which are easier to isolate and purify. ...read more.


This is expensive and requires heating to denature and coagulate the enzyme which is then filtered off, which can spoil the flavour of the product. Enzyme immobilization avoids such problems. There are many other enzymes used in the food industry. A large demand for sweeteners led to a cheaper, sucrose substitute to be produced called high fructose syrup, which requires four enzymes; ?-amylase, fungal amyloglucosidase, pullulanase and bacterial isomerase. These catalyse the conversion of starch to glucose, which is then converted to a 50:50 mixture of fructose and glucose. Aspartame is an alternative sweetener sold as 'Canderel' or 'Nutrasweet' which requires the use of the enzyme aspartase. The soft centres inside chocolates are also produced using enzymes. Originally the centre is solid containing an enzyme and polysaccharide, and coated in chocolate. The enzyme breaks down the polysaccharide, turning the hard centre soft. Lipases are used in the dairy industry to ripen blue cheeses, and proteases are used to lower the protein content of flour for biscuit production. This idea is also used when making baby foods, which are treated with proteases to break down proteins to amino acids and polypeptides so it is easier for the babies to digest the food. In low-calorie beer the sugar is broken down by amyloglucosidase. ...read more.

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