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The Commercial Use of Enzymes.

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Introduction

The Commercial Use of Enzymes Throughout this project I will be looking at the use of enzymes in industry. I will focus my thoughts onto the medical area and furthermore onto the portable medical devices. This will include looking at biosensors in great detail along with medical test strips. Enzymes are chemical catalysts; this means that they increase the rate of chemical reactions without being consumed in the process. The exact nature of how enzymes work is not know. The majority of the reactions that occur in living organisms are enzyme controlled and without them, the reactions that are necessary for the organisms to function would be reduced to a rate too slow as to cause serious/fatal damage. Without enzymes, toxins would rapidly build up in the organism and the supply of respiratory substrate would fall. Most enzymes are proteins which themselves are polymers of amino acids (A few rib nucleoprotein enzymes have been discovered and, for some of these, the catalytic activity is in the RNA part rather than the protein part). This means that they have a specific shape. Therefore an enzyme is specific in the reactions that they catalyse (one enzyme will only react with one molecule of a substrate). ...read more.

Middle

This measures the concentration of oxygen dissolved in a solution. When the tip is placed in a drop of blood, glucose within the blood diffuses into the pores of the gel. This use's up the oxygen in the enzyme as it has to break down the glucose. The electrode monitors the oxygen levels and converts it to an electrical signal. This is transduced and sent to a display that has been pre-calibrated to show the amount of glucose in the blood. *When an enzyme is immobilised it means that it is not in a solution but instead attached to or trapped within an insoluble material. These are much more useful than free enzymes, as: o They are much more thermo stable (stable at high temperatures). o They are more resistant to changes in pH. o They are less likely to be degraded by organic solvents. o The products are uncontaminated by enzyme and can be collected more easily. o The enzyme can be retained and re-used. o Use of columns of immobilised enzyme allows automation of the industrial process. (All of these factors are important when scaling up the use of enzymes to a commercial level.) The first attempt to use a biosensor was in 1962 by a man named Professor Leland C. ...read more.

Conclusion

The strips can only be used once unlike biosensors that can be used time and time again. The benefit of test strips over biosensors is that they cost a great deal less as they are just a piece of card/plastic rather than an electronic device. Recent advances in biochemistry, molecular biology, and immunochemistry have expanded the range of biological sensing elements, improving assay selectivity and sensitivity, while the advent of diode and LEDs has enabled the development of small, inexpensive optical biosensors. In addition, developments in fiber optics and microelectronics have yielded signal transducers that are smaller and more durable, and which offer improved signal/noise ratios and reduced manufacturing costs. These two points along with the ever advancing bio sensor chips show that the market for biosensors will always be here and as long as they remain useful to both the general public and businesses, they will continue to progress as fast as technology will allow. The demand for chemical sensors in the US is predicted to grow 8.6 percent annually through 2006. Optical sensors and biosensors are predicted to grow the fastest, although nearly all products will benefit from improving performance, lower costs and the penetration of new, large-volume markets. The large medical/diagnostic segment should continue to offer the best opportunities. ...read more.

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