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The Applications Of Enzymes In Industry And Medicine

1152 words - 5 pages

The Applications of Enzymes in Industry and Medicine

Enzymes have a wide range of applications and they are used in
industry and in medicine to perform numerous different tasks to get
specific results. The market for commercially produced enzymes is
catalysts is very large because enzymes are used in reactions to speed
up a specific process therefore making the process cheaper for the
company since they work best in aqueous solutions at atmospheric
pressure and at low temperatures. Enzymes are used in processes such
as beer brewing, drug manufacturing, food manufacturing, in biological
detergents, in agriculture, for pharmaceutical uses and even for
medical and therapeutic uses. These examples are only a few of the
many uses for enzymes and the market is large and ever-growing because
of the facility to use microorganisms for the production of pure
enzymes in bulk and on demand.

Commercially, enzymes have enormous potential. Biological washing
powders contain a range of hydrolysing enzymes such as amylases which
break down starch stains, lipases which break down lipid stains into
fatty acids and glycerol, cellulases which break down the ends of
damaged cotton fibres in order to remove "fuzz" produced when cotton
is washed, and proteases are also used to break down the many
different proteins found in food stains. These enzymes only need a low
temperature of around 50ËšC, and this means a saving of energy, as less
electricity is used by the appliance but the difficult stains are
still removed.

In the dairy industry, enzymes are used to remove lactose from milk as
some people are allergic to lactose. The enzyme lactase is added to
the milk and hydrolises the lactose to glucose and galactose. Enzymes
are also used to assist the extraction of fruit juices from fruits
such as oranges and apples. To extract the fruit juices an insoluble
pectin is added which causes the plant cell walls to stick to the
adjacent cells during storage. This pectin then changes to a soluble
form which binds water strongly. Pectinase is then used to break down
the pectin chains. This reduces its water-storage capacity so that the
fruit can now be crushed and thus release a greater yield of juice.

In the brewing industry the essential product is alcohol which is
produced by the action of yeasts on plant materials such as barley,
hops and rice. The form of the sugar present in the plant materials is
made up of polysaccharides such as starch, which are very complex and
so cannot be readily utilised. The yeast cells are only capable of
converting simple sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. These simple
sugars were traditionally released by a process of malting where the
barley was allowed to partly germinate so that the endogenous enzymes
which were released would degrade the starch and protein into...

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