Enzyme Research


 Enzyme provider Bio-Cat, of Troy, VA completed a study on fungal enzymes in an in vitro simulation of digestion. The results were published in the August 30, 2022 issue of Food Chemistry. The study showed that 3 different fungal protease preparations, working in a lab model of the stomach, broke down a blend of dairy and soy proteins better than a control preparation that used only pepsin from pig stomach. A multi-enzyme blend promoted all macronutrient hydrolyses in the gastric phase; and fat and starch hydrolysis in the intestinal phase were better than control conditions. The study demonstrated that fungal enzymes work in a model of the stomach and are stable even in the presence of pepsin enzyme and high acidity. These studies have not yet been replicated in humans. In addition, the study showed the value of supplemented fungal lipase in breaking down fats.  

In non-digestive enzyme news:

 As an enzyme biochemist, I have followed the progress of developing enzymes that do extraordinary work. Using artificial intelligence, a lab at the University of Texas at Austin created an enzyme variant that breaks down plastic in a matter of hours.

 The project focused on PET, or polyethylene terephthalate, the type of plastic found in water bottles. PET makes up about 12% of all global waste. Past research had found enzymes that could degrade plastic but only under certain conditions, like high temperatures. This new enzyme, known as PETase, can work at much cooler temperatures. The products left over after the enzyme does it work can be used to make new plastic. 

 I find this exciting and encouraging! Perhaps other enzymes can be made that will break down other plastics such as HDPE, Styrofoam insulation, and other materials that pollute the oceans and landscape. Enzymes just might end up saving the world!