Industrial enzymes

Enzymes are biological catalysts that speed up the biochemical reactions. For living organism, enzymes are of pivotal importance as without them, the biochemical reactions proceed at very slow rate. Likewise, enzymes also used in commercial applications. Industrial enzymes have wide applications in product manufacturing.

Industrial applications of enzymes

With the advent of sciences and technology, human being has applied the enzymatic properties in beneficial processes of industries. Initially, until 19th century, the exact mechanism of certain chemical reactions such as brewing and cheese formation, was not understood. Although these products were required at commercial scale, keeping their production economical.  

Later on, the catalytic activity of enzymes was identified and since then they are widely used for various industrial processes. The enzymes have not only medicinal but also have industrial applications. Ranging from the food industry to medicine and textile industries, enzymes are widely used now a days for desired product formation.      

Uses of industrial enzymes

Enzymes used in food industry

One of the major industrial applications of enzymes is in food industry. These have use for processing of carbohydrates, and proteins etc. For example the enzymes amylase, cellulase, lactase and lipase etc. They have a role for breakdown of starch into small residues. Therefore, for production of canned juices, pectinase is widely used that lowers its viscosity.

One of the mainly used enzymes in food industry is amylase that catalyse starch hydrolysis into small sugar residues. Naturally, the saliva of mammals and humans contains amylase in oral cavity. And from this point the digestion of carbohydrates in food is initiated.  Rice and potato contain large amount of starch and are digested by amylase when chewed in oral cavity. Amylase has three distinct types, each performing a specific role in digestion. All of these types act on alpha 1,4 glycosidic linkage of saccharides. Alpha amylase present in pancreatic secretions hydrolyse disaccharides as well as tri-saccharides to yield glucose for energy generation in body of organism.

Brewing industry

Brewing industry for liquor and beer applies alpha and beta amylases. Firstly, sugars are fermented for production of wines. second, yeast, saccharomyces carries out fermentation process and the enzymes involved in this are either alpha or beta amylase.

Starch sources such as potato, barely and grains are mashed. Later, mixing with hot water creates a mash. A specific temperature is maintained in reaction mixture to allow the optimum activity of amylase whose action converts barley into sugars. However, different temperature results in production of mixture of fermentable and non-fermentable sugars. For industrial process, temperature and other conditions of reaction mixture such as grain to water ratio, are carefully maintained. This helps in production of specific type of alcohol and its taste is maintained as well.

Enzyme NameUsed For
Alpha AmylaseFor dough improvement in bread making
ProteaseBiscuit production
Beta glucanaseFiltration in brewing process
AmylaseFlour additive
PalataseEnhance cheese flavour

Enzymes in pharmaceuticals

As enzymes are natural catalysts of biochemical reaction in body of organisms, absence or low levels of enzymes leads to diseased condition. Therefore, for these patients, drugs are provided to enhance and improve the enzyme production in body. Enzymes have a role for assisting metabolism such as in geriatric patients. Digestion of food is insufficient due to lack of digestive enzymes such as chymotrypsin, trypsin and peptidase etc.

Enzymes also improve drug delivery for those which act on deeper tissues of body. Intramuscular injections are provided to patients. Also,diagnostics and research fields widely apply certain enzymes. Using steroids and enzyme, antibiotics are developed for medicinal uses.

Enzyme NameUsed For
LipaseSynthesis of chiral compounds
HyaluronidaseImprove drug delivery
Penicillin amidaseSynthesis of antibiotics
Alkaline phosphateDiagnosis of myocardial infarction
TrypsinDrugs for improving metabolism
LipaseIbuprofen production

Leather And Textile Industry

The precursor of leather is animal skin. The enzymes and chemicals denature and process the animal skin for commercial production of leather. For instance, proteins are denatured, fats removed and debris cleared out by enzymes.

For example, lipase belongs to family of hydrolases and it acts on carboxylic ester bond. Furthermore, It hydrolyses triglycerides into di and monoglyceride units. So, the fats are degraded by enzyme and proteins denatured by proteases for production of leather from animal skin.

Some other enzymes are used for fabric production that provide the raw cotton with smoothness and shine and thread thickness is maintained as well.

EnzymeUsed For
LipaseFat removal and degreasing for leather production
ProteaseProtein digestion for leather production
CellulaseGive smooth and shiny appearance to fabric
KeratinaseDehairing of skin for leather production
Proteolytic enzymesBating-softening of hides

 Enzymes For Production Of Detergents

Clothing gets soiled by protein substances, oils, grease etc. Detergents are used for removal of these particles form fabrics. Enzymes are used for production of detergents that degrade and remove stains from cloths. Similarly, soaps are used for personal hygiene that also apply enzymes. Additionally, disinfectants are used in soaps for germs removal.

EnzymeUsed For
ProteaseRemove strains of protein nature such as sweat
LipasesRemove grease
CatalaseRemoving hydrogen peroxide

Paper and pulp industry

Paper is manufactured from cellulosic material such as wood. Enzymes in addition to chemicals are vital for converting cellulosic substances into paper. Each step of paper production from slurry formation up to bleaching, applies a specific mixture of chemicals and enzymes that not only catalyse each step pf paper production but also make it cost effective and economically favourable. Some of these enzymes are:

EnzymeUsed For
AmylaseModifying starch coating
XylanaseReduce bleach consumption
EsteraseStickies removal
CellulasePulp refining and slurry formation


Thus, keeping in view these industrial applications of enzymes, it is concluded that enzymes have pivotal role in every industry. Not only they speed up the manufacturing process of products but also ensure that maximum product is obtained with the available resources. This is also economically favourable that maximum yield of product is obtained with a cost-effective manufacturing process.