Enzymes are protein substances generated by any biological body to perform various operations within the body. They are often cultivated artificially so as to fulfill various commercial purposes. They are widely employed in industrial and medicinal applications. They are biological catalysts. Enzymes act upon substrates and subsequently convert them into products. All metabolic actions taking place in a biological body require the action of enzymes to maintain the rate of reaction at a suitable speed. They are in a speed sufficient enough to sustain life. Enzymology is the study of enzymes and is a vastly growing educational sector with growing demand for enzymologists.
Importance of enzymes:
There are more than 5,000 reaction types that are being catalyzed by enzymes. Most of the enzymes are protein molecules that are macromolecular biological catalysts. However, some of them are RNA molecules. They break down other chemical compounds and enhance the rate of biological reaction. Such catalytic RNA molecules are known as ribozymes.
Factors influencing enzymes:
The three dimensional structure of enzymes determine their specificity and unique properties. Catalysts are not that specific whilst enzymes certainly are and they could effectively be promoted by the action of activators and the intensity of their activity could be minimized by the action of inhibitors. Temperature and pH are pivotal factors determining the activity of enzymes and any changes acquired could be attributed to the above mentioned factors.
Commercial usage of enzymes:
The synthesis of antibiotics is one amongst the major commercial sectors requiring the usage of enzymes. They are also used in less commercially viable areas. This entails their usage in biological washing powders so as to remove protein, fat or starch on clothes and in meat tenderizer to break down proteins into smaller molecules so as to avail easier chewing of meat. They are also employed in some household products wherein enzymes catalyze the rate of the reaction.
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Industrial applications of enzymes:
The range of industrial applications for enzymes is inordinately huge for almost all industrial applications require extremely specific catalysts to cater for various demands. Food industries have found a significant place in the world due to growing population. Consequently, there is a growing demand for processed foods. Enzymes are pivotal ingredients of processed and preserved foods. They help in the enhancement of food quality and also accelerate reaction specificity. They play an essential role in the conversion of carbohydrates to carbohydrase, proteins to protease and lipids to lipase. All of these compounds help in enhancing properties of processed food items that add to the shelf longevity of foods.