June 14, 2024
Industrial Enzymes

Industrial Enzymes: Unleashing New Opportunities for Sustainable Chemical Production

What are Industrial Enzymes?

Industrial catalyst refer to enzymes that are commercially produced and implemented in industrial processes. They can be derived from plants, animals or microorganisms and function as biocatalysts to carry out highly specific chemical reactions under moderate conditions. Some common sources of industrial catalyst include fungi, bacteria and actinomycetes. Unlike chemical catalysts, industrial catalyst are highly selective and environmentally friendly.

Applications of Industrial Enzymes

Food & Beverages Industry: The food and beverages industry relies heavily on industrial catalyst. Proteases, lipases, amylases, etc. are routinely used in food processing applications like cheese production, baking, brewing, winemaking and fruit juice extraction. Industrial Enzymes help drive fermentation, breakdown complex food molecules, and improve yields. Glucosidases allow the production of high fructose corn syrup. Lipases are employed for interesterification reactions in the oil and fat industry.
Biofuel Production: The increasing demand for renewable fuels has led to the widespread adoption of industrial catalyst in biofuel manufacturing. Amylases, cellulases and hemicellulases play a key role in breaking down lignocellulosic biomass into fermentable sugars. Lipases and other hydrolases are employed for transesterification of plant oils into biodiesel. These biocatalytic processes allow for green fuel production without competing with food crops.
Cleaning Products: Enzymes provide an eco-friendly alternative to harsh chemicals in detergents and cleaning products. Proteases, amylases, lipases and cellulases help break down and remove stubborn stains caused by proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Compared to conventional surfactants, enzymes work efficiently even under moderate conditions of temperature and pH. This has led to their widespread adoption in automatic dishwashing detergents and laundry detergents.
Textiles Industry: Whether for preparing natural fibers, dyeing or processing textiles, industrial catalyst offer environmental and economic benefits. Pretreatment with amylases and pectinases eases the degumming of plant fibers. Proteases remove unwanted residues from cotton fibers. Cellulases aid in the softening and finishing of fabrics. Enzymes also improve the efficiency of dye transfer and allow for lower water and energy usage.
Paper and Pulp Industry: The pulp and papermaking process generates huge volumes of wastewater containing lignins and other recalcitrant molecules. Xylanases and other hemicellulases help improve pulp qualities and increase fiber yield by degrading plant cell walls under mild conditions. Use of enzymes eliminates the need for toxic chlorine bleaching and reduces environmental pollution. Amylases and lipases also find niche applications in this industry.

Key Challenges and Future Prospects

Producing industrial catalyst at large scale in a cost-effective manner remains an obstacle to wider adoption, especially for smaller industries. Advances in fermentation technology and recombinant DNA methods have significantly lowered production costs but there still exists room for improvement.
Development of enzymes active and stable under extreme industrial conditions will continue to expand their applications, e.g. cellulases that work at higher temperatures for second-generation biofuel production. Proteomics and computational enzyme design approaches are making it possible to develop tailor-made biocatalysts for specialized reactions. Research on novel enzymes from metagenomes is also expected to yield biocatalysts with properties superior to known enzymes.
As environmental regulations tighten worldwide, industrial catalyst have an edge over traditional chemicals. Their ability to carry out steps like wastewater treatment in situ offers new opportunities. With continued R&D and efforts to make them competitive, industrial catalyst undoubtedly have a bright future ahead across different sectors including pharmaceuticals and personal care products. Overall, biocatalysis is gradually replacing chemical synthesis leading to a more sustainable industrial future.

*Note:
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research.
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it.