Medical and Industrial Applications of Enzymes

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  • Medical and Industrial applications of Enzymes
    • Industrial uses of Enzymes
      • Enzymes have special properties that can be used in many areas of biotechnology
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      • Biological washing powders and liquids contain enzymes to remove stains
        • Proteases: Digest proteins in egg, milk and blood
        • Lipases: Digest fats
        • Cellulases: Sometimes added to get rid of the fluff that dulls the colour of worn fabrics
        • Enzymes added to detergents must work well at pH 9-11 and must be stable in heat so will work in hot water
      • The food processing industry uses pectinase to thicken the juices extracted form crushed fruit. It also makes hte juice clear again
    • Biosensors
      • Used for rapid detection of metabolites (biologically important molecules)
      • They are specific (as they contain a specific immobilised enzyme) so can detect one type of molecule in a mixture
      • Simple Biosensors
        • Involve the use of a plastic strip (clinistix) with an immobilised enzyme attached
        • If the metabolite is present, colour change occurs
        • They can be used to diagnose medical conditions e.g. diabetes, however they only produce qualitative data and only indicates if the metabolite is present or not
      • Digital Biosensors
        • Modern biosensors measure the concentration of a metabolite by converting chemical energy into electrical impulses
        • They are sensitive and can accurately measure the concentration of molecules even in very low concentrations
        • They can be used by diabetics to monitor blood glucose concentraion or by environmental scientists monitoring levels of pollution
        • Consist of;
          • A transducer/electrode
            • Absorbs/combines with the product and converts the chemical energy to an electrical signal
            • The strength of hte signal is directly proportional to the concentration of hte product present
          • Immobilised Enzymes
            • If the metabolite is present it will bind to the active site of the enzyme and be converted into a product
            • The concentration of product formed will be directly proportional to the concentration of the metabolite
          • A display
            • This electrical signal can then be amplified and recorded
            • Qualitative data will be given regarding the concentration of the metabolite
          • Selectively Permeable Membrane
            • Allows the metabolite to diffuse through to the immobilised enzyme
            • Prevents the passage of any other enzyme molecule so that they can't affect the activity of the enzyme or inhibit it
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