Industrial Uses of Enzymes

Industrial Uses of Enzymes
Most of the reactions catalysed by enzymes have commercial or industrial uses. These reactions used to happen by using high heats or strong acids but no enzymes can be used in these industrial processes. Here are just a few ways they can be used. Biological washing powders use the enzyme protease. This is enzyme is used to break down protein stains for example food and blood. The enzymes need alkali conditions to work there best and the detergents provide this. And as the enzymes work at relatively low temperatures this means the washing machine does not have to work at high temperatures. This is one advantage to using enzymes in biological washing powder.
This is an economic advantage because the washing machine is not using, as much heat so it will not be using as much energy and this will be saving on the cost of your electric and heating bills and the cooler the temperature the kinder it is to your clothes so they last for longer. It?s also an environmental advantage because it does not need to be so hot so less fuel is used. A disadvantage to using enzymes in biological washing powder is that some people become extremely allergic to the free enzyme, so to solve this problem before the enzyme is added to the other ingredients in the washing powder it is coated in wax. This wax makes the enzyme dust free and so it is only released in the wash. This happens when the warm water from the washing machine melts the wax and the enzyme is set free to collide with its substrate and remove the stains from your clothes. Another use of enzymes is preparing leather for commercial sale. Because leather was once the skin of an animal all the hair on the skin needs to be removed. This used to be done with a mixture of chemicals, but these chemicals produced harmful poisonous gases so an alternative was needed. Also the skin of the animal needed to be made more pliable and to do this the fats needed to be removed. The enzyme protease is used to perform these processes. Protease is applied to the underside of the animal skin and left to diffuse through to the hair follicles the protease then partly digests the keratin found in hair and this allows the hair to be removed more easily. The enzymes that are used to digest or remove the fat from the animals skin are extracted from the pancreas of slaughtered animals. Using Enzymes to perform these processes is an advantage to the environment because harmful chemicals are no longer being used, so less harmful waste is being produced which is kinder on the environment. Also because the enzymes are biodegradable the little waste that they produce causes less environmental pollution. Because the harmful chemicals like calcium hydroxide sodium sulphide are no longer being used the production of hydrogen sulphide now becomes less. Cellulase is an enzyme that can be used in the process of creating a stonewashed effect on denim material. Originally the denim being washed with pumice stones created the stonewashed effect. Now less pumice stones are used and cellulase is added to the wash. This is a time saving advantage because when using the cellulase the stonewashing cycle has been cut in half. It is also an economic advantage because fewer stones need to be used and the enzymes can be used over and over again because they are immobilised enzymes. The only disadvantage to using cellulase is if you use acid cellulase this tends to weaken the clothes so natural cellulase should be used. Here are some more industrial uses of enzymes. The baking industry uses enzymes to modify the flour they bake with to prevent the bread from becoming stale too quickly. Lactase is used when making cheese and other dairy products containing milk because it reduces the amount of lactose. Enzymes are used to convert starch into sugar and sugar in to alcohol. When making alcoholic beverages. Enzymes are also very important when it comes to the digestion of animal feed components. Enzymes are added to the natural enzymes that are found in animals, these help break down the raw feed materials in the animal?s digestive system. This is especially important in young animals whose digestive system is not fully developed. This is an advantage because it enables young livestock to be fed better quality food which they can properly digest which will then provide a better tasting product e.g. steak when it comes to be slaughtered and prepared for sale. In all the industrial uses of enzymes I have looked at I think that in every case the advantages out way the disadvantages.

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