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The use of enzymes in industry and medicine.

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Introduction

The use of enzymes in industry and medicine. Enzymes are protein molecules that act as catalysts for many chemical reactions. Enzymes are very specific. The shape of the enzyme has to be just right; if the shape of the molecule is deformed even slightly it will not function. Enzymes bind to their substrate only; this makes them specific. This means they can be used to identify a specific substance in a sample. Enzymes are also very effective at low concentrations and work at moderate temperatures and pH that can help to reduce costs. Enzymes are also biodegradable which means no waste is produced which would cost money to dispose of. It is for these reasons that they have a wide variety of commercial and medical uses. Enzymes that are used in medicine and industry are preferably grown by microbes. This is because microbes have a high growth rate; they are grown easily in bulk in fermenters. They have simple nutritional requirements and produce many extracellular enzymes which are easier to recover and purify. The use of enzymes in medicine. Enzymes have many uses in medicine. Streptokinase helps to dissolve blood clots which limits the chance of a further heart attack. In addition, Urokinase removes blood clots, for example in heart disease by breaking down the blood clots. ...read more.

Middle

Alkaline proteases are added in the soaking phase. This reduces the processing time as well as removing dirt and fats. The next stage is dehairing and dewooling, enzymes are used to assist the alkaline chemical process. This improves the quality of the leather producing a cleaner and stronger surface, and softer leather. The next stage is bating which aims at deliming of collagen. In this phase, the protein is partly degraded to make the leather soft and easier to dye. Enzymes can be used in agriculture to produce biological silage where enzymes partially breakdown some of the cell wall components of the plant material into soluble sugars. Theses sugars are then metabolised by the natural or applied lactic acid bacteria such as Lactobacilli or Pediococci into lactic acid. This reduces the pH and so improves the crop. Enzymes can also be used to help improve animal feed. The first commercial success was the addition of beta-glucanase into barley based animal feed. Barley contains beta-glucan, which causes high viscosity in the chicken gut. The addition of the enzyme improved the viscosity. Over 90% of animal feed is supplemented with enzymes to resolve this problem. Xylanase enzymes are also added to animal feed containing wheat. The addition of the enzyme increases the energy available to metabolise by 7-10% in various studies. Detergents were the first large scale application for microbial enzymes. ...read more.

Conclusion

* Proteases can be used as a meat tenderiser. This is why a piece of pineapple is often placed on top of a gammon steak - pineapple contains proteases. Soft centres inside chocolates are possible because of the action of an enzyme. To start, the centre is solid and contains a polysaccharide and an enzyme. Once the chocolate coating has set, the enzyme breaks down the polysaccharide filling. This process turns the hard centre into the familiar soft and runny centre. Enzymes such as proteases are used in the baking industry to lower the protein content of flour for biscuit production. Enzymes are also used in bread making. One of the ingredients of bread is yeast. After the dough has been kneaded, it is put in a warm place. The yeast respires with oxygen by feeding on the sugars and breaking them down into carbon dioxide and water. These gases cause the dough to rise. As the dough is baked the yeast is killed, and the gases continue to expand to give the bread a spongy texture. If dough without yeast is used then it will not rise. In conclusion, life with out enzymes would be impossible. Enzymes are involved in almost everything around us and even inside us, people do not realise what a major part they play in our lives, without them life as we know it would not exist. As a great immunologist Dr. Pavels Ivdra once said, 'Enzymes the unsung heroes' (Medical Journal 1996). ...read more.

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