Different enzymes play different roles in maintaining the health of the body. Enzymes are also act as good applications in our daily life. Therefore, the understanding of enzymes is essential for everyone, one will have no doubt whether he or she should have the lactose-free milk or not after reading this.
Metabolism and Catalysis
What is metabolism? Metabolism is the sum of all the biochemical reactions that occur in the living cells. Without the taking place of the biochemical reactions in our bodies, the complex molecules like starch (which found in the sugar) are unable to be broken down into simpler molecules and this will cause us to be weak to carry out certain activities due to lack of energy. Besides, cellular respiration is also unable to be carried out when a certain biochemical reaction does not occur. Catalysis is the process to speed up these biochemical reactions in our bodies or in the other word, the metabolism is catalyzed.
Properties of Enzymes
Enzymes play an important role in being a biological catalyst- Activation energy or Ea is a term used to explain the reactions take place with or without a catalyst. Enzymes act by lowering the activation energy needed for the reaction to occur. This means the lower the activation energy, the easier the reaction to take place.
Enzymes are specific for only one particular reaction- Enzymes have very high sensitivity in recognizing its substrate ( In the lock and key hypothesis: enzyme as a ‘lock’ and substrate as a ‘key’), this make each of them have their own specialities and they are said to be unique.
Enzymes are also easily destroyed at high temperatures- Different enzymes work best at their own optical temperature. For human, the enzymes work the best at 37 degree Celsius. Therefore, people usually do not survive when the body reaches the temperature of about 44 degree Celsius and the enzymes will eventually denatured (or killed) at 60 degree Celsius.
Enzymes are required in small amount- This is because they can always be reused in our bodies.
Technology: Enzyme Immobilisation
After knowing about the enzymes and their properties, we can also have a closer look on the applications of enzymes and learn about the methods of producing immobilised enzymes as well as getting know more about the advantages and disadvantages of the immobilised enzymes.
What are immobilised enzymes?
There are several ways to form the matrix or a fixed structure of enzymes and the matrixes of enzymes are called immobilised enzymes. By using the method of entrapment in gel by which the enzymes can be trapped within gel such as alginate (a viscous gum that is found in brown algae cell walls), entrapment in microcapsules, covalent bonding, cross-linking and adsorption.
The Advantages and The Disadvantage of Immobilising Enzymes
By using immobilised enzymes, it gives the advantage of making the continuous substances production easy and the operational cost is low. Immobilisation helps the enzyme to be stable by strengthening the bonding between the enzymes. It helps to withstand the denaturation of the enzymes. The enzymes are adhere to an inert support. They are said to be ‘clean’ and do not contaminate the end product and therefore, no purification of product is needed. One of the applications of immobilised enzymes is the manufacture of lactose-free milk. Some individual are lactose-intolerant and they are lack of lactase to digest the lactose they have taken in from their food and drinks. The undigested lactose is matabolised by the bacteria in the intestine and this causing severe abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Milk contains lactose. It can be made lactose-free by passing through a column packed with immobilised lactose. The disadvantage of immobilising enzymes is lowering the rate of biochemical reactions.