Enzymes are biological molecules that catalyze chemical reactions. In enzymatic reactions, the molecules at the beginning of the process are converted into different molecules called products. Almost all chemical reactions in a biological cell need enzymes in order to occur at rates sufficient for life. Some enzymes are used commercially in various industries. Here’s a list of industries where enzymes are used:
Enzymes are used in the manufacturing process of wheat flour used for baking, alcohol and fruit juices. The wheat flour naturally contains enzymes; however, yeast added to the mixture also contains enzymes which ferment the maltose over time, to make the dough rise. In the alcohol industry, fermentation depends on the action of enzymes helped by the yeasts and bacteria used in the production process. The benefit of using enzymes in the beverage industry is that it allows being more economic and having consistent quality. Enzymes are also used in the processing of fruit juices to maximize the production of clear or cloudy juice.
Enzymes are used in the leather and 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 cellulose enzyme can give a smoother, glossier brighter fabric to cellulose fibers like cotton. This technique is known as bio-polishing. The benefit of using enzymes in this area of industry illustrates their valuable technological contribution as it gives a lot of control on the final result of the material.
Protease digests organic stains such as grass, blood, egg and human sweat while lipases are effective on stains resulting from fatty products and amylases are effective on removing starchy food deposits. Some washing powders contain cellulose to brighten colors and soften fabrics. Protease and amylase are also effective in dishwasher detergents to remove food particles. Using enzymes in washing powders helps create environment friendly products with fewer bleaching agents and phosphates.
Enzymes are used for various medical purposes. They’re use in diabetic test strips of paper. These papers are impregnated with glucose oxidase to monitor their blood sugar. Proteases are used to clean wounds and therefore accelerate the healing process. Enzymes are also used as medicines to replace enzyme deficiencies in patients.
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