Enzymes - An Overview
Enzymes are proteins - large molecules made up of amino acids that occur naturally in all living organisms. DNA contains the information to produce an enzyme, with each enzyme performing a specific task, in a specific way, under specific conditions.
Enzymes are classified based on the nature of reactions they catalyze. Many of the enzyme groups have affinities toward components of tree fibers as well as elements of the recovered fiber waste stream.
Because enzymes are so unique in function and activity, they are easily deactivated when no longer needed. It is this ability to perform highly distinct, biocatalytic, complex chemical reactions without harsh chemistry or excessive energy that makes enzymes so attractive for industrial use.
Relevant Enzyme Classifications
What Are Enzymes?
- Not alive, but produced by living organisms
- Biological catalysts
- Unique activities
- Produced by fermentation
- Safe to handle and use
- Growing range of pH applications
Industrial enzymes are produced by fermentation using microorganisms such as bacteria or fungi under carefully controlled conditions. Currently, researchers are locating extremophile organisms from around the world that produce enzymes of a truly exciting industrial nature. These searches range from the rain forests to remote arid regions to the bottom of the ocean. In some cases, these bacteria or fungi can be modified to produce additional interesting enzyme varieties.
Now, the industry is working on the development of enzymes with a greater variety of mechanisms and activity conditions more closely emulating the environment of pulp and paper mills. Enzyme production techniques can be used to tailor the chemical reactions of the enzymes for specific types of industrial activity and operating conditions such as temperature, pH, and reaction kinetics.