Enzymes in food production BY csw29 Explain the use of enzymes in food production by means of examples. You must include the example of lactase. Enzymes are proteins that speed up the rate of chemical reactions (up to a million times) in living organisms. Acting as catalysts they are not consumed nor altered in the process of converting the specific set of reactants into specific products. In food production, enzymes are greatly appreciated by their accelerated effect in biochemical processes and are mostly used in what we know as fermentation.
Humans have been using the process of fermentation for centuries. Fermentation consists of a chemical breakdown of any substance by the means of bacteria, yeast or other microorganisms. It has the added benefit of preserving our food longer. Here are a few well-known examples of fermentation processes. The Rennet is a natural enzyme mixture (found in calves’ fourth stomach), in which the enzyme chymosin destroys the kappa casein protein.
This allows the milk to coagulate and to form the curd (solid separated from liquid). Another very old example of fermentation is the use of enzymes to transform grape Juice into wine. Preparations of enzymes (there are many such as: pectinase, cellulase, glucanase and glycosidase) are used in wine making to decompose grape pulp, break down skin cells and amplify and improve the fermentation process in general.
Using enzymes also allows extracting more Juice out of the grapes as they destroy the pectin (present in the walls of grape cells). Pectinase (a structural heteropolysaccharide) is what prevents wine makers to get the full potential of must quality. Biotechnology is really Just inventing new ways to ameliorate these old processes of ermentation, by genetically modifying and optimizing microorganisms for the production of enzymes. Furthermore, this allows us to eliminate the reliance on livestock for these enzymes.
However, while the microorganisms are genetically modified, the enzymes produced are identical to those found in nature. Enzymes are then utilized in order to make fermentation more efficient in making improvements to the quality of our food. For instance, enzymes are used in the manufacture of fruit juice, corn syrup, beer, cheese, yogurt, sausage and many other foods and drinks. As a matter of fact food producers use over 55 different enzymes to manufacture many finished foods present in our daily diets.
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