Why are enzymes called biomolecules

Enzymes - the super talents of the bio-industry

With the help of enzymes as biological tools, starches, fats or proteins can be modified as required, which is why the versatile helpers are used in numerous manufacturing steps. More than 50 enzymes are used in the food industry today. They allow a more efficient use of resources, secure and refine the quality of the food and improve the shelf life.

Bakery products: Nowadays, many baking mixes in bakeries contain enzymes. In yeast dough and sourdough in particular, amylases help break down the starch in the flour into sugar and thus make it available to the yeast. Others break down the adhesive protein gluten. Depending on the product, enzymes ensure optimal dough properties and reliable baking results. They help add volume and color to the dough. They ensure a nice and stable bread crumb. The now widespread baking of pre-produced, frozen dough blanks would not be possible without enzymes.

Dairy products: In order for milk to be turned into cheese, the protein content has to curdle. Rennet is traditionally used to curdle the milk. This substance occurs naturally in the stomachs of young calves and goats. Today it is clear that the rennet is a mixture of the enzymes chymosin and pepsin. They break down certain proteins (caseins) in milk and thus trigger coagulation. Before genetic engineering was known, the enzymes had to be extracted from calf stomachs in a laborious process. In the meantime, molds or yeasts take over the production: They were equipped with the chymosin gene isolated from calf stomachs and now produce the enzyme in large quantities and with a high degree of purity. Other enzymes such as lipases ensure the development of aromas and the formation of a desired texture in cheese and other dairy products. Lactase is also an important enzyme in the food industry: it breaks down the milk sugar lactose. The enzyme is offered in tablet and capsule form so that people who are lactose intolerant can consume dairy products.

Starch saccharification: Beet and cane sugar are no longer the only sources of sugar. In principle, any starchy plant can do this (especially corn, potatoes, wheat). During production, enzymes such as amylase break down the long-chain starch into its molecular components - into simple sugars such as glucose and dextrose. With the help of other enzymes such as isomerases, various sugar syrups that contain fructose or maltose are created in the further processing process and can be used for sweetening.

Flesh: Enzymes are also used in meat processing to influence structure, color and taste. Enzymes are also used to join different pieces of meat together, for example in cooked ham ("enzymatic gluing").

Beverages: Pectinases facilitate and improve the pressing of fruits and vegetables by breaking down the cell walls of the plants more quickly and thereby increasing the juice yield. They also break down any remaining turbidity in order to produce clear apple juice, for example. Other enzymes make beer gluten-free.

Usually no labeling as an ingredient is necessary

In the food industry, enzymes are usually used as an aid in the manufacturing process. In the course of the process, they are removed or inactivated by heat. Since they are not active in the end product, their use does not have to be labeled. Only the enzymes invertase for keeping marzipan fresh and lysozyme as preservatives are also active as additives in the end product and must therefore appear on the list of ingredients. According to an EU regulation from 2009, only those enzymes may be used in food that are registered in a European community list; the food authority EFSA checks for risks. There are no special requirements for enzymes that are produced using genetically modified microorganisms. The same safety requirements apply to them as to all other enzymes. Specific genetic engineering labeling is not required.