Do Enzymes Come From?
Enzymes have been isolated from every
type of living organism. Many of these biological catalysts are
significant only from an academic or medical standpoint, but
some of the available enzyme from this vast repertoire have been
utilized for agricultural and industrial purposes for years. The
table below lists several of the industrially on sequential enzymes
and their sources in nature. It is significant to note that
animals plants and microorganisms all yield industrially important
enzymes. Some enzymes of animal or plant origin have been used in
agricultural applications; however, those enzymes most broadly
used are of microbial origin.
Malted grains or tubers Amylase
Pineapple Bromelin (Protease)
Fig Tree Ficin (Protease)
Papaya Papain (Protease)
Liver Catalase (Peroxide Breakdown)
Calf Stomach Rennet/Chymosin (Milk Clotting)
Hog Stomach Pepsin (Protease)
Hog Pancreas Pancreatic Enzymes (Several)
Digestive Tract Trypain (Protease)
Fungi (Molds and Yeast) amylase, beta glucanase, hemicellulase,
protease, cellulase, pectinase, lipase, (many types of each), lactase
Amylase, protease, isomerase, lactase (many types of each), rennet,
oxidase, catalase, beta-glucanase, hemicellulase.
enzymes for diagnostic or medical purposes are most important for
the benefit of thousands of patients yearly,
their discussion is beyond the scope of this article.
encounters many digestive or hydrolyzing enzymes in
the digestive tract of human and other animals. These biological
catalysts are necessary for the full utilization of foods ingested.
Microorganisms, many being as small as 1/10,000th of an inch in
length, are much too minute to have complicated digestive systems
as animals do. Therefore, these microbes must predigest their
potential foods outside of their cell boundaries so that they
can absorb the very small nutrient compounds of predigested
to predigest the potential food sources outside their cell boundaries,
many microbes excrete enzymes out through their enveloping membrane
with its supportive cell wall and into the surrounding environment.
Since these "extra-cellular enzymes" must function
in the environment outside the protection of the cell's wall and
membrane, they must be reasonably stable and have relatively
high resistance to chemicals and must function over a relatively
broad temperature range. To realize the effects of the enzymes they
produce, microorganisms also must produce relatively large
quantities of these catalysts. All of these factors contribute
to the industrial significance and durability of extra-cellular microbial
should be noted that most of the agriculturally and industrial important
enzymes, are those that catalyze the digestion or "hydrolysis" of certain
large organic molecules like starch, cellulose, and protein. The
enzymes actually attack these complex molecules, accelerating their
digestion and yielding simpler substances. Since this process
of digestion is referred to as hydrolysis,
the enzymes that catalyze the process are considered to be "hydrolyzing
enzymes" or "hydrolases".
hydrolyzing enzymes include:
(1) Amylases, which catalyze the digestion
of starch into small segments of multiple sugars and into individual
Proteases, (or proteinase), which split up proteins into their component
amino acid building blocks.
(3) Lipase, which split up animal and vegetable fats and oils into
their component part: glycerol and fatty acids.
(4) Cellulase (of various types) which breaks down the complex molecule
of cellulose into more digestible components of single and multiple
(5) Beta-glucanase, (or gumase) which digest one type of vegetable
gum into sugars and / or dextrins.
(6) Pectinase which digests pectin and similar carbohydrates of