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Uses of enzymes in Industry

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Uses of enzymes in Industry Enzymes, being biological catalysts, "can speed up chemical reactions by as much as million times."[1] It is this property, as well as being able to form specific product(s) [2] that enzymes are exploited, and play an important role, in the application of numerous industrial processes today. Sometimes various enzymes are used to break down complex molecules to products that can be processed and used in our everyday lives [11]. They are widely used for various processes, such as Lipase in the dairy industry, extracellular Proteases in biological washing powders, Glucose Oxidase for biosensors, and Cellulases and Esterases in the paper industry, all explored below. One use of lipases is for the enhancement of flavours in cheese. Lipases break down milk fats, by modifying triglycerides present through hydrolysis, resulting in free fatty acids that add flavour. Strong flavoured cheese, such as the Italian cheese Romano, is prepared this way [6]. ...read more.


Also, some people are allergic to proteases due to enzymes on the skin, such as collagen, that can be irritated when in contact, so precaution must be taken when hiring staff and adding an allergy and adequately rinsing before wear, to reduce effects. However, proteases work at lower temperatures; lowering energy costs, whilst producing a suitable turn-over rate, making it a suitable enzyme for use in washing powders. Also, by adding an enzyme, the use of bleaching agents and phosphates are reduced, thus being more environmentally friendly [9]. A biosensor is a sensory system used to analyse biologically active compounds in solutions. Used as a diagnostic tool, biosensors are used in a variety of fields from forensic science to medicine. The main use of biosensors in medical terms is to enable diabetics to monitor their own blood glucose levels or surgeons to monitor during surgery. Glucose is measured with the use of the enzyme glucose oxidase, an immobilised enzyme, that catalyses the reaction between glucose and oxygen in a solution, to form gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide. ...read more.


However, drawbacks include only working effectively at moderate temperatures and pH, so conditions must be very specific, the introduction of other chemicals in the pulp can act as inhibitors, and as enzymes are specific, some esterases will only be effective on certain types of ester bonds, so variations may be needed [12]. Cellulases are used for de-inking, and are widely used in other industries such as the drying of coffee beans through hydrolysis, and fermentation of biomass into biofuels. Enzymes, immobilized, intracellular or extracellular, have numerous applications in industry today, to satisfy the world-wide demand for confectionary sweets, detergents, beer, cheese, bread, biscuits and many other products. Since the development of enzyme technology is fairly recent, there is also high commercial value for finding a suitable enzyme and selling it to the major industries in the world. Growing on a large scale and purifying, enzymes are worth the hardship as they can catalayse specific reactions at low temperatures, are more versatile and cheaper than inorganic catalysts [5], reduce workloads in various industries and in some cases, can be used over and over again, having high ecological value. ...read more.

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