Protease Enzyme

Protease is the enzyme that triggers the proteolysis of proteins into smaller polypeptides or single amino acids. They do this by cutting the peptide bonds within proteins through hydrolysis, a reaction where the water breaks the bonds. Proteases play a part in many biological functions such as digestion of ingested proteins, protein catabolism and cell signalling. Representing the largest segment of the industrial enzyme market they are also used in detergents, animal feeding, food processing, leather and fabric upgrading, the role of catalysts in organic synthesis, and as therapeutics.

Types of proteaseApplicationWorking pH
Acid ProteaseLeather processing, clearing beer and fruit juice, Digestive aids, Malt Industries 3.0 to 6.0
Alkaline ProteaseLeather processing, Detergent industries, Textile processing7.0 to 11
Neutral proteaseFood industries, brewing industries6.5 to 7.5

Protease in food Industries

Proteases have been widely used in the baking industry for various purposes like the production of bread, baked foods, crackers and waffles. These enzymes provide various benefits such as reducing the mixing time, decrease in dough consistency and uniformity, regulating the gluten strength in bread and improving the texture and flavour. Acid protease has been successfully used in the improvement of the functional properties of wheat gluten. The addition of this enzyme releases sufficient peptides and amino acids in the wort to get a proper fermentation. Acidic fungal proteases are used in bettering the fermentation of beer as they are efficient even at low pH by balancing the amino acid profile of the beer. Another major application of proteases is in the dairy industry. Naturally occurring proteases contribute significantly to managing the flavour characteristics of cheese. They are used to accelerate the ripening of the cheese, modify the functional properties and reduce the allergenic ones in milk products. In cheese making, proteases are also used to hydrolyze the specific peptide bond to generate paracasein and macro-peptides.

Protease in Laundry Detergent Industries

Proteases are counted among the most widely used enzymes. In laundry detergents, protein stains such as grass, blood, egg, and human sweat are removed using proteolysis. Detergent-compatible proteases with better characteristics are a continuous exercise. The current inclination is towards using detergent-compatible proteases that are stable over a wide temperature range, and elevated pH can be used in detergent formulations. Proteases ensure the removal of proteinaceous food films, which are a particular problem with glassware and cutlery. Serine proteases are the most significant group for detergent applications. Proteases catalyze the hydrolytic breaking of the peptide chain. The most important requirements for the hydrolysis reaction are surface-available substrate S, E/S, pH, reaction time, and temperature. Together with the requirements and properties of the enzyme itself, these parameters are responsible for the course of reaction on a given protein stain. 

Protease in animal feed industries

Proteases aid and improve the digestion of proteins and increase amino acid availability, which helps release valuable nutrients. This results in improved animal growth and performance and minimal negative effects of undigested protein in the hindgut. Protease enzymes are the latest in technology on the block, with animal or vegetable protein as their substrate. They crack down anti-nutritional factors associated with various proteins. Proteases are not bound to diets with alternative ingredients. Animals put on a traditional corn-soybean meal diet cannot utilise 100% of the protein fraction. Therefore, adding a protease enzyme to a corn-soybean meal diet enhances amino acid digestibility and the animal’s performance. Raw ingredients with lower amino acid digestibility respond the greatest to an exogenous protease, which is why its greatest value is when alternative ingredients are used in the diet. Proteases help producers manage the nutritional risks associated with feedstuff quality and allow them to utilise all available feed ingredients in the best way possible. 

Protease in brewing industries

Proteases crackdown large proteins into smaller ones. This is essential in brewing because brewers rely a lot on the nitrogen content of their beer. Yeasts, which are primarily used for brewing beer, use nitrogen as a nutrient. Nitrogen is found in all proteins, but yeasts prefer freely available nitrogen. Proteases are critical for cutting proteins and providing that nitrogen to the yeast. Using protease allows brewers to control the amount and quality of foam or head in a classic brew. little foam makes the beer seem flat or stale.

Protease also prevents the beer from getting hazy. It can be a sign of too many proteins and polyphenols hanging around in your brew, or it can also be a much more confusing symptom of a bacterial infection. This enzyme can mitigate precipitating proteins and polyphenols by breaking them down and elevating the clarity of the beer.

Protease in Leather Processing

Proteolytic and lipolytic enzymes are widely used in the leather industry. The use of these enzymes is associated with the structure of the animal skin as a raw material. Enzymes are used to remove all the unwanted parts and mirk. This  Alkaline protease is added in the soaking phase. This also improves water uptake by the dry skins, removal and degradation of protein, dirt, and fats and finally reduces the processing time. In some cases, pancreatic trypsin is another enzyme is also used in this phase.

Proteases and their use here improve the quality of the leather such as making it look cleaner with a stronger surface.

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