Enzymes in Industry
Enzymes are described as chemical a catalyst that is they speed up the
rate of reaction.
Enzymes have enormous potential in the commercial world. They are
cheap to use in industry and they do not need high temperatures to
work. They work at neutral PH and normal atmospheric pressure. This
reduces the costs of fuel in industry and are energy saving. Also,
enzymes can be reused. This means that they are needed in relatively
small amounts in comparison with Inorganic catalysts. Once a suitable
enzyme has been found, it is made on a larger scale and purified
before use. Enzymes are specific in their action. They only react with
one substrate to produce a specific product. They are therefore less
likely to produce unwanted by-products. They are Biodegradable causing
less environmental pollution.
Enzymes also have their disadvantages. They are highly sensitive to
changes in temperature and PH and can very easily become denatured.
They shouldn't be contaminated with other substances as this could
cause unwanted reactions. This means their environment must be clean
and controlled. They are also expensive to purify and are often
unstable in a purified state.
Enzymes in agriculture: The only major agricultural area to utilise
enzymes is the feeding of monogastric animals. However, there are two
applications which currently make use of enzymes. Biological silage
frequently contains enzymes in addition to lactic acid bacteria. The
enzymes in such products partially breakdown some of the cell wall
components of the plant material to be ensiled into soluble sugars.
These sugars are then metabolised by the natural or applied lactic
acid bacteria such as Lactobacilli into lactic acid which reduces the
pH and so ensiles the crop. Some enzyme preparations have been
reported to improve the utilisation of feeds for ruminant animals.
The use of enzymes in arable agriculture especially in the processing
of some major crops and in waste disposal systems are areas which has
not been fully
The main components of animal feed are plant materials, in particular
cereals such as maize, wheat and barley which provide carbohydrate
energy sources and vegetable protein sources such as soya and other
beans, peas, sunflower and lupins seeds.
Whilst the majority of the starch present in cereals is readily
digested by monogastric animals a large proportion of the energy
content is present as non-starch polysaccharides. The non-starch
polysaccharides in wheat and rye, in barley and oats are soluble and
result in increased thickness in the gastrointestinal tract of the
animal which impairs digestion. Such non-starch polysaccharides are
therefore frequently referred to as anti-nutritional factors. The
addition of enzyme activities not present in the animal can overcome