Enzyme - Industrial Applications

Industrial Applications

Enzymes are used in the chemical industry and other industrial applications when extremely specific catalysts are required. However, enzymes in general are limited in the number of reactions they have evolved to catalyze and also by their lack of stability in organic solvents and at high temperatures. As a consequence, protein engineering is an active area of research and involves attempts to create new enzymes with novel properties, either through rational design or in vitro evolution. These efforts have begun to be successful, and a few enzymes have now been designed "from scratch" to catalyze reactions that do not occur in nature.

Application Enzymes used Uses
Food processing Amylases from fungi and plants Production of sugars from starch, such as in making high-fructose corn syrup. In baking, catalyze breakdown of starch in the flour to sugar. Yeast fermentation of sugar produces the carbon dioxide that raises the dough.
Proteases Biscuit manufacturers use them to lower the protein level of flour.
Baby foods Trypsin To predigest baby foods
Brewing industry Enzymes from barley are released during the mashing stage of beer production. They degrade starch and proteins to produce simple sugar, amino acids and peptides that are used by yeast for fermentation.
Industrially produced barley enzymes Widely used in the brewing process to substitute for the natural enzymes found in barley.
Amylase, glucanases, proteases Split polysaccharides and proteins in the malt.
Betaglucanases and arabinoxylanases Improve the wort and beer filtration characteristics.
Amyloglucosidase and pullulanases Low-calorie beer and adjustment of fermentability.
Proteases Remove cloudiness produced during storage of beers.
Acetolactatedecarboxylase (ALDC) Increases fermentation efficiency by reducing diacetyl formation.
Fruit juices Cellulases, pectinases Clarify fruit juices.
Dairy industry Rennin, derived from the stomachs of young ruminant animals (like calves and lambs) Manufacture of cheese, used to hydrolyze protein
Microbially produced enzyme Now finding increasing use in the dairy industry
Lipases Is implemented during the production of Roquefort cheese to enhance the ripening of the blue-mold cheese.
Lactases Break down lactose to glucose and galactose.
Meat tenderizers Papain To soften meat for cooking
Starch industry Amylases, amyloglucosideases and glucoamylases Converts starch into glucose and various syrups.
Glucose isomerase Converts glucose into fructose in production of high-fructose syrups from starchy materials. These syrups have enhanced sweetening properties and lower calorific values than sucrose for the same level of sweetness.
Paper industry Amylases, Xylanases, Cellulases and ligninases Degrade starch to lower viscosity, aiding sizing and coating paper. Xylanases reduce bleach required for decolorizing; cellulases smooth fibers, enhance water drainage, and promote ink removal; lipases reduce pitch and lignin-degrading enzymes remove lignin to soften paper.
Biofuel industry Cellulases Used to break down cellulose into sugars that can be fermented (see cellulosic ethanol)
Ligninases Use of lignin waste
Biological detergent Primarily proteases, produced in an extracellular form from bacteria Used for presoak conditions and direct liquid applications helping with removal of protein stains from clothes
Amylases Detergents for machine dish washing to remove resistant starch residues
Lipases Used to assist in the removal of fatty and oily stains
Cellulases Used in biological fabric conditioners
Contact lens cleaners Proteases To remove proteins on contact lens to prevent infections
Rubber industry Catalase To generate oxygen from peroxide to convert latex into foam rubber
Photographic industry Protease (ficin) Dissolve gelatin off scrap film, allowing recovery of its silver content.
Molecular biology Restriction enzymes, DNA ligase and polymerases Used to manipulate DNA in genetic engineering, important in pharmacology, agriculture and medicine. Essential for restriction digestion and the polymerase chain reaction. Molecular biology is also important in forensic science.

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