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Putting the knowledge to good use


Shortage of sulphuric acid causes first commercial use of an immobilised enzyme

Tate and Lyle Golden Syrup was produced using invertase extracted from yeast during World War II.

The process was cost-effective but the product did not have same flavour as acid-hydrolysed material. The method was abandoned as soon as the acid became available again.








Making things sweeter

Glucose is sweet but fructose is one and a half times sweeter The food industry now uses high fructose syrups, produced using a soluble enzyme, isomerase, first employed in Japan in 1966 and now the largest use of an immobilised enzyme

The Kato Kagaku Company hold the record for productivity with 12000 kg of fructose syrup from 1 kg of enzyme used in a column filled with immobilised enzyme. The column was used for 687 days before a change was needed because of falling enzyme activity.




Easily digested milk

Many people in the world have lactose intolerance meaning that they cannot consume milk or milk powders. Yet milk powder can be a very important food. Enzymes are used to hydrolyse lactose to galactose and glucose, giving a pleasantly sweet product with a long shelf life, much more easily tolerated by the digestive system






Most of the semisynthetic penicillins are synthesised from 6-aminopenicillanic acid or 6-APA. Since 1973 several chemical steps have been replaced by one enzymatic step

The previous process had to run at -40oC, in absolutely anhydrous conditions and needed organic solvents, making it both difficult and expensive.














Washing powders and liquids

Many modern products contain enzymes for more effective cleaning.