Enzymes act as biological catalysts made from amino acids.
What are Enzymes?
Enzymes can be defined as the proteins composed of hundreds and thousands of amino acids, which are strung together in a very specific and unique order.
The word enzyme was first coined by a German Scientist Wilhelm Kuhne in the year 1878.
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The study of enzymes, its catalysts, types, functions, mechanism, other activities related to the enzyme and its terminologies are termed biochemistry.
In the human body, these enzymes are mainly involved in the various bio-reaction processes, therefore, the enzymes are also referred to as the biological catalysts. The main functions which require the presence of enzymes are the production of energy in the cells, the process of digestion, synthesis of hormones and so on.
There are six different types of enzymes and are mainly categorised into different groups based on their functions.
The most important functions of enzymes are:
Enzymes play a crucial role in various body functions including the biological process such as absorption of nutrients, digestion, breathing, excretion, reproduction, the function of the liver and kidney and a lot more.
Refer more: Life processes
Application of Enzymes
There are approximately 1300 different enzymes found in human cells, which includes amylase, pepsin, trypsin, pancreatic lipase, ribonuclease and deoxyribonuclease. All these enzymes are involved in the different chemical processes such as the breakdown of large starch molecules, proteins, fats and other nucleic acids.
Enzymes are very useful catalysts in many different industrial processes, which includes:
In the food processing industries.
Application of enzymes in the process of food processing is a very old practice, which has been used by our ancestors and these include a very simple process.
Enzymes are used by the food industries for processing raw materials for the production of numerous and common products such as bakery products, dairy products, meat products, fruit products, beer and wine.
Enzymes are broadly used in the production of alcoholic beverages and certain food products.
Other than the production, these enzymes are also used in improving the quality of food products, such as improving the quality of the food, taste, flavour, colour, etc. The applications of enzymes include:
- Addition of α-Amylase and glucoamylase for improving the quality of the food.
- Addition of peroxidase for the colour and nutritional quality of the food.
- Addition of lipase, xylanase and glucose oxidase for the improvement of the flavour.
In the modern world, biotechnology enzymes used in the food industry are extracted directly from the plants and animal sources and are also obtained by microbial fermentation.
Also Refer: Food processing
In Pharmaceutical industries.
With the invasions of new technologies and the unique characteristics of enzymes, the different types of enzymes are used as drugs. These drugs specifically bind to the target and also have an incomparable potential and advantages compared to the ordinary small molecular drugs.
Applications of some important therapeutic enzymes, which are widely used in the productions of drugs for the treatment of various dreadful disease and other infectious diseases, including allergies, food and cyanide poisoning, gout, heart attack, inflammation, leukaemia, viral and bacterial infections, plague formations, skin ulcers, thrombosis and a lot more.
Also Read: Different types of Human Diseases
In textile processing and fabric finishing industries.
Enzymes play an important role in removing impurities, to provide a stonewashed effect, in the ethanol production to break down the starch and cellulose into fermentable sugars.
Other applications of enzymes include:
- Enzymes are the natural tools of nature and are essential to all forms of life existing on the planet earth.
- Enzymes are used to produce and improve nearly 400 to 500 everyday consumer and commercial products.
- Enzymes are powerful tools that help sustain a clean environment in several ways by producing environmentally friendly products.
- They are also used in numerous technical applications such as in laundry to remove stains and increase the life of fabrics, in recycling of paper and paper products to remove ink and in the production of dishwashing soaps and detergents.
- Enzymes are used in producing a variety of foods products, beverages processing, animal nutrition, textile industries, household goods, biofuels and other fuels for automobiles, cleaning products and also in energy generation plants.
Also Refer: Facts about biofuels
- Enzymes area unit molecule biological catalysts. Enzymes accelerate and change state in chemical reactions.
- Enzymes are involved in various metabolic processes within the cells and the presence of enzymes, helps in faster the metabolic activities like to sustain life.
- The set of enzymes created during cell metabolism determines which metabolic pathways occur within the cells.
- Enzymes help by providing environmentally friendly products to consumers, which are manufactured using less energy, water and raw materials and also by generating less waste.
- In plants, the biological process photosynthesis would not be possible without the enzymes. Here, enzymes play a vital role in regulating the temperature and are also involved in controlling the reactions of carbon fixation.
- In animals, especially the ruminants or grass-eating animals or herbivores. The cellulase enzymes, existing in their stomach helps to break down the plant cellulose into smaller and easily absorbable nutrients to produce energy for their further metabolic process.
Also Read- Digestion process in Ruminants.
This article concludes an introduction to enzymes and the applications of enzymes.
To know more about the enzymes, their types, functions, other related topics and important questions on enzymes, keep visiting our website at BYJU’S Biology.