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The Use of Enzymes in Industrial Processes

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The Use of Enzymes in Industrial Processes

2. An enzyme is a substance that acts as a catalyst in living
organisms, regulating the rate at which chemical reactions proceed
without itself being altered in the process.

Enzymes are used in industrial processes such as: Baking, Brewing,
Detergents, Fermented products, Pharmaceuticals, Textiles, Starch
processing. Here are a range of processes showing how enzymes are used

Use in Baking-1

The wheat flour used to make bread contains naturally occurring
enzymes that change the starch, protein and fibre in the flour when
water is added. Yeast added to the mixture also contains enzymes,
which ferment the maltose over time, to make the dough rise. The
interaction between different enzymes is complex and the wrong mixture
of enzymes can be damaging, for example, too much enzyme usually
results in the failure of the bread to rise properly. The advantages
of using enzymes is that they can improve consistency and efficiency
and they enable better handling of the dough and the control of
certain characteristics in the finished bread. The use of enzymes in
bread making shows their value in quality control and efficiency of
production.

Use in alcohol-1

In the alcohol industry, fermentation depends on the action of enzymes
helped by the yeasts and bacteria used in the production process. Beer
brewing essentially involves the yeast action on barley, maize,
sorghum, hops or rice. However the traditional malting process is an
expensive inefficient way of manufacturing enzymes. So nowadays
industrial enzymes such as amylases, glucanases and proteases are
added to unmalted barley to produce the same products that malting
would produce by more controlled means. The advantages of using
enzymes in the beverage industry allow it to be more economic and have
consistent quality.

Use in Fruit Juices-1

Enzymes are used in the processing of fruit juices to maximize the
production of clear or cloudy juice. Nearly all fruits contain pectin.
The presence of soluble pectin in squeezed juice causes cloudiness.
The addition of pectin degrading enzymes- pectin methyl esterase
(enzymes that corrupt pectin) at the pressing stage increases the
amount of juice produced and can reduce cloudiness. The desired
flavour and colour of citrus juices depends on the insoluble, cloudy
materials of the pressed juice. The pectin component is manipulated
requiring a balance between pectin methyl esterase, to promote
cloudiness by increasing the pectin/calcium complex formation and
polygalacturonase to break cloudiness by depolymerisation of the
pectin. The application of enzymes in these processes is superficial.
The advantages of using enzymes in fruit juices is you can get a
desired flavour and colour in a certain fruit juice

Use in Washing Powders-1

Protease digests on organic stains such as grass, blood, egg and human
sweat and lipases are effective on stains resulting from fatty
products and amylases are effective on removing starchy food deposits.
Some powders contain cellulase to brighten colours and soften fabrics.
Protease and amylase are also effective in dishwasher detergents, to
remove food particles. The advantages of using enzymes in washing
powders is that they are environmentally friendly with fewer bleaching
agents and phosphates, and have beneficial effects on public and
environmental health.

Use in the Textile Industry-1


Enzymes are used in the leather and the textile industries in
finishing processes. Proteases help in the de-hairing of the animal
hides and lipases are used for de-greasing. The correct application of
a cellulase enzyme can give a smoother, glossier brighter fabric to
cellulose fibres like cotton. This technique is known as
bio-polishing. In the denim industry, cloth was traditionally
stonewashed with pumice stones to fade the fabric. A small application
of cellulase minimises damage to the garments and also to machinery.
This technique is known as bio-stoning and can ensure greater fading
without high abrasive damage to fabric and accessories. The advantage
of using enzymes in this area of industry illustrates their valuable
technological contribution as you have a lot of control on the final
result of the material.

Use in Medicine-1

Uses of enzymes in medicine include:
• Analytical tests: Diabetics use strips of paper impregnated with
glucose oxidase to monitor their blood sugar.
• The presence of enzymes where they should not be present can also
help to diagnose disease. For example when the liver is diseased or
damaged, enzymes leak into the bloodstream. Testing the blood for
these enzymes can confirm liver damage.
• Therapeutic enzymes: Enzymes are sometimes used as medicines to
replace enzyme deficiencies in patients like is the use of blood
clotting factors to treat haemophilia, or the opposite where proteases
are used to degrade fibrin; to prevent the formation of dangerous
blood clots. Nuclease is a possible therapy for cystic fibrosis, but
it is not clear how commercialized and therapeutically successful this
has been.
• Proteases are used to clean wounds and therefore accelerate the
healing process.
• Drug manufacture: The chemical synthesis of complex drugs is often
difficult and companies turn to enzymes to perform chemical
conversions

2.To conclude enzymes are used by industry and medicine because of
their catalytic abilities, which ensure that throughout any reaction
they remain unchanged and can be used again and again. Enzymes are
useful because they can be used in minimal quantities and keep costs
down. In medicine, they are useful because they are specific because
they only act on a particular substrate, and so avoid side effects
when used on a patient. Use of enzymes in industry and medicine is
highly ethical, socially desirable and beneficial, economically
efficient and represents an advance in modern technological processes.

Bibliography

1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/ww2/A112572

2. Advanced Biology for you by Gareth Williams

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