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Home » Biology Homework Help » Biotechnology » Enzymes uses in Solution
Enzymes uses in Solution
Enzymes have a wide variety of applications in industry, medicine research etc. The various uses of enzymes in solution are briefly discussed below.
   
1. Detergents:- Detergents represents the largest industrial application of enzymes amounting to 25-30% of total sales of enzymes. The enzymes used in detergents must be cost effective, safe to use and be able to perform the task in the presence of anionic and non-ionic detergents, soaps, oxidants etc. at pH between 8 and 10.5. Enzymes constitute only 0.4%-0.8%crude enzyme by weight (about 1% by cost) of detergents. The chief enzymes used are proteases, and, sometimes cellulose.
   
2. Leather industry:- Alkaline proteases (0.1-1% w/w) are used to remove hair from hides; this is safer and more pleasant than the traditional method using sodium sulphide. Dehaired hides are processed or bated often using pancreatic enzymes to increase their suppleness and softness in appearance. Bating is necessary for the production of soft leather clothing.
   
3. Wool industries:- Wool fibres are covered with overlapping scales pointing towards the tip; this favours movement of the fiber away from the tip and is considered to lead shrinkage. This problem is successfully overcome by a partial digestion of the scales by papain (protease); this process also gives the wool a silky appearance and adds to its value. However, the process is no more in use due to economic reasons (mainly high cost of papain), but is likely to be initiated again with the availability of cheaper enzymes.
   
4. A typical waste cellulosic material is < 50% cellulose, the remainder being mostly lignin and pentosan in roughly equal quantities. Therefore, a mixture of enzymes is needed for its degradation. The concerned enzymes are relatively unstable, have low activity against native lignocelluloses and show both substrate and product inhibition. Therefore, the cost of conversion of cellulose to glucose using various available cellulolytic enzymes is high and uneconomical. Starch is the substrate of choice for this purpose for several important reasons. Even pure cellulose is insoluble under the common conditions for reaction, and at 10% w/v it forms an immovable cake. The lignin present in natural cellulosic materials is of no value as a by-product and is difficult and expensive to remove.
   
5. Production of glucose syrup:- Glucose syrup is produced from liquefied starch of 8-12 DE. DE (dextrose equivalent) values is obtained as follows:


   
6. Maltose syrup:- High maltose syrups are used to produce hard candy and frozen desserts, while high conversion syrups are used for soft candy, in soft drinks, brewing and baking. High maltose syrups (40-50 DE, 45-60% maltose, 2-7% glucose) are produced from liquefied starch (DE 11) by using fungal (2000 U/kg) at 55˚C for 48 hr. Pullulunase could be used for obtaining higher maltose contents.
   
7. Sucrose Industry:- Sucrose industry uses relatively small amounts of enzymes by adding invertase to 70% sucrose (w/v) syrup at 50˚C and 4.5 pH; small amounts of xylene are added to prevent microbial growth. This enzyme hydrolyzes sucrose to a mixture of glucose and fructose as follows:



The resulting syrup, called ‘invert syrup’, is sweeter and less likely to crystallize (more stable) than pure sucrose syrup. The enzyme and xylene are removed during subsequent refining and evaporation.
   
8. Uses in medicine:- Enzyme applications in medicine are as extensive as in industry; pancreatic enzymes have been used in digestive disorders since nineteenth century. Most enzymes are used extracellularly for  (i) topical applications, e.g. collagenase, (ii) removal of toxic substances, e.g. rhodonase, or in (iii) disorders within blood circulation system, e.g. streptokinase, urolinase etc. the enzymes preparations must be of high purity and free from unwanted contamination; therefore, they are generally from animal sources and very costly. For example, urokinase is isolated from human urine and costs nearly $ 200/mg; the annual market for this enzyme is nearly $150 million.
   
9. Aspartame Synthesis:- Aspartame is a dipeptide containing one residue each of L-aspartic acid and methyl ester of L-phenylalanine. It is 180 times more sweet than sucrose, and is used as low caloric sweetener. It is synthesized from an equal mixture of L-aspartic acid and methyl ester L-phenylalanine by the protease thermolysin.

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