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The Uses Of Enzymes In Industry, Medicine And Analytical And Diagnostic Processes

1747 words - 7 pages

The Uses of Enzymes In Industry, Medicine and Analytical and Diagnostic Processes

Enzymes are very precise protein molecules with a high specificity
which are used to catalyse chemical reactions by lowering the
activation energy required for the reaction to take place. It is these
properties of being able to break down substances easily and bind
specifically to certain chemicals that make enzymes very useful in
many industries and practices throughout the world. In addition to
this enzymes are not used up in experiments so products of processes
are not contaminated with enzyme which could be a problem. This essay
explains 3 uses of enzymes, in industry and food, diagnosing and
analysing, and treating disease, explaining the function and
advantages of enzyme use in each example.

In industry enzymes are used for many processes such as brewing beer,
baking bread, using pectinase to increase juice in fruit juice drinks
and protease enzymes in washing detergents. Another example of the use
of enzymes in industry is animal feeding. Many monogastric species
such as poultry are fed food with enzymes added which break down
substances in the food which the species body cannot digest. Many
foodstuffs for farm animals such as wheat, rye, barley and oats
contain non-starch polysaccharides (NSPs) which are an example of ANFs
(anti-nutritional factors). They cannot be broken down by the
monogastric species so the substance would build up in the body and
cause digestive problems leading to other enzymes not being able to
function properly. In addition to this NSPs are soluble and so can
dissolve in the body but this increases viscosity in the
gastrointestinal tract. This tract is vital in the process of
digestion, so digestion is inhibited by the increased viscosity.
Enzymes can be used however to break NSPs down into smaller products
that the body can deal with and digest. The enzymes xylanase is used
to break down arabinoxylans in wheat and rye and ß-glucanase enzymes
are used to break down ß-glucons in barley and oats. (1, 2 )

Enzymes are very useful in this example as they allow an increased
variety in the diet of animals which may mean that farmers get more
money when they are sold and they will have higher production
efficiency. Other enzymes are now being developed which will have the
same effect on ruminant species such as cattle.

Another example of enzymes used in industry is the use of phytase
which increases the reaction releasing phosphorus from phytic acid in
plants. Phosphorus is essential to keep plants alive and if it isn't
released enough then phosphorus has to be added artificially to the
plant which causes environmentally polluting waste from the plant. In
this case the use of enzymes reduces pollution from plants and
increases the utilisation of available nutrients.


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