TINY ENZYMES, BIG IMPACT

HOW ENZYMESWORK ININDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS

What is an Enzyme?

What is an Enzyme?

An enzyme is a protein that is found in the cells of every living thing - from microbes, to plants, to people. Its purpose is to catalyze – or speed up – a biochemical reaction.

For example, enzymes in the human mouth help to break down the food we eat to aid in the digestion process.

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Enzymes increase the speed of a biochemical reaction by lowering the required activation energy (Ea) required.

That enzyme in your mouth is called an “amylase”. Amylase enzymes are specialized to break down starch. In digestion, it helps break down carbohydrates into simple sugars, which can then be absorbed by the body.

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Starch is made up of many molecules of the simple sugar glucose, joined in a chain. The amylase enzyme will catalyze the same reaction many times over, breaking the bond between two glucose molecules in starch without losing its activity.

Did you know

Enzymes are named according to the molecule they react with:

  • Protease: Protein
  • Amylase: Starch
  • Lipase: Lipids (fats)
  • Phytase: Phytic acid
  • Cellulase: Cellulose

ENZYMES IN
INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS

Enzymes evolved in nature over millions of years for a specific task, and to work within very specific conditions.

Scientists have learned from nature how to accelerate this evolutionary process.

Using the latest biotechnological tools, they identify and engineer enzymes for a new task in a variety of industrial process and consumer products.

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The effect of temperate and pH on enzyme reactions.

Common uses of industrial enzymes:

Fight stains in laundry and automatic dishwashing detergent.
Increase the nutritional value of animal feed.
Convert corn/grain to fuel alcohol.

Common uses of industrial enzymes:

Fight stains in laundry and automatic dishwashing detergent.
Increase the nutritional value of animal feed.
Convert corn/grain to fuel alcohol.
Process textiles at lower temperatures and with less water and harsh chemicals.
Improve freshness and optimize production in baking, brewing and dairy.

Did you know

Enzymes are named according to the molecule they react with:

  • Protease: Protein
  • Amylase: Starch
  • Lipase: Lipids (fats)
  • Phytase: Phytic acid
  • Cellulase: Cellulose

Common uses of industrial enzymes:

Process textiles at lower temperatures and with less water and harsh chemicals.
Improve freshness and optimize production in baking, brewing and dairy.

The cell factory

Humans have been harnessing the power of enzymes for thousands of years. The earliest examples of this come from ancient Egypt, where they produced cheese, bread and wine by fermentation.

Did you know

The word 'Enzyme' comes from the Greek word: ἔνζυμον meaning "leavened".

Today, enzymes are manufactured primarily through a fermentation process, using microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria as the production hosts – or “cell factories”.

By controlling the fermentation, recovery and purification processes, enzymes are produced - at industrial scale and economics.

Scientists also engineer proteins and microorganisms to produce biochemicals, the building blocks of innovative new materials made from renewable sources, rather than petroleum.

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Engineering Polysaccharides through Enzymatic Polymerization.

Polysaccharides are important biopolymers with a wide range of industrial and consumer product applications. DuPont Industrial Biosciences has developed a family of engineered polysaccharides ranging in molecular weights, solubility, and polymer architecture. The underlying enzymatic polymerization process offers the opportunity to design the polymer structure and the material properties of these new biomaterials.

Catalysts for a more
sustainable world

At DuPont Industrial Biosciences, we’re proud of our pioneering history in the development of enzyme technology, and excited by the new applications of these technologies made possible through our continuous scientific achievements.

These tiny catalysts are making a big impact in biotechnology’s contribution towards industrial sustainability, helping our customers deliver better choices for everyday life, today and into the future.

Substrate

An enzyme’s active site is designed to fit together with the substrate like a lock and key. When the two bind, a chemical reaction causes the substrate to break apart into smaller pieces, called ‘products’.

Active site

Every enzyme has an active site

The active site is where the enzyme binds with another molecule to catalyze a chemical reaction. The enzyme will only react with one specific molecule— such as a protein or starch. These molecules are called “substrates”.