What are enzymes?

Enzymes are the workhorses of the body. They break down carbohydrates (sugar and starch) to provide energy. Enzymes are involved with muscle contraction, nerve conduction, digestion and most physiological functions.

The three primary applications of enzymes are to break things apart, change the shape of molecules and to join molecules together. The major types of enzymes relevant to food processing are:

  • Amylase enzymes help break down starches into dextrins or sugar.
  • Lipolytic enzymes help hydrolysis of fats into glycerol and fatty acids. Lipase enzymes help break down fats into glycerol and fatty acids.
  • Protease enzymes assist in hydrolysis of proteins into peptides and/or amino acids.

Enzymes are proteins and biocatalysts manufactured from plant, animal and microbial sources and can be used in several applications including baking and milling, fruit and vegetable processing, craft brewing and distilling, wine making and dairy and cheese processing.

How much do you know about enzymes?

A few common applications for enzymes are...

Benefits of ezymes for baking and milling are:

  • Creates prolonged softness
  • Increase dough handling and volume
  • Volume increase in high fiber bread
  • Increase volume and softness
  • Improve dough strengthening and whiteness
  • Sugar replacement and improved crust color
  • Improve whiteness and finer crumb structure
  • Gluten correction in biscuits and wafers
  • Egg reduction in cakes
  • Emulsifier replacement and improved whiteness

Benefits of enzymes for craft brewing and distilling are:

  • Easier, simpler and more consistent processes
  • Fast processes
  • Improve steeping, brewing, cooking and germination
  • Improve mashing
  • Improve yeast nutrition
  • More flexibility in the choice of raw materials
  • More extraction from raw materials
  • Improve the quality of final products

Benefits of enzymes for dairy and cheese processing are:

  • Improve amino acid production for cheese flavor enhancement
  • Improve fat hydrolysis for cheese flavor enhancement
  • Improve yield, taste and texture of cheese
  • Aid in the production of cheese with consistent quality and reduced bitterness
  • Enable production of 'vegetarian cheese'
  • Help make cheese with smooth and velvety texture
  • Lactose reduction for milk, cheese and ice cream
  • Increase gel strength and viscosity thus improving consistency of fruit preparations in yogurt

Benefits of enzymes for fruit and vegetable processing are:

  • Faster and efficient juice extraction from apples and pears
  • Depectinization of juices
  • Haze clarification of juices
  • Maceration, color extraction and deceptization of grapes and berries
  • Cloud stability for citrus juices
  • Juice clarification of stone and tropical fruits
  • Vegetable juice and oil extraction
  • Fruit and vegetable firming and French Cider production
  • De-bittering of fruit juices
  • Improving throughout and membrane cleaning

Benefits of enzymes for wine making are:

  • Decrease viscosity
  • Increase press yields
  • Improve settling and enhance clarification
  • Improve depectination
  • Improve the extraction of tannins and aromas
  • Decrease the filtration time
  • Extract more color

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