How Are Enzymes Used in the Food Industry?

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How Are Enzymes Used in the Food Industry?
Not only do enzymes naturally occur on foods, but the food industry adds its own enzymes. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of epSos .de)

Enzymes are healthy, natural and safe chemicals that the food industry uses in order to improve the quality of food product. These hidden chemicals have specific roles that are activated under the right conditions.

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Identification

Food enzymes are chemicals that are used as catalysts in a variety of biochemical processes. For instance, digestive enzymes speed up digestion.

Benefits

In the food industry, enzymes are nontoxic, low concentration and can become inactive under certain situations. They are added to the food in order to have specific effects.

Safety

Food enzymes are used to make sure that food is processed correctly. For example, some enzymes will cause food to brown when it is no longer optimal for consumption.

Types

Enzymes used in the food industry include ascorbic acid, citric acid, acetic acid, bromelain, ficin, papain, catalase and peroxidase.

Effects

Bromelain is used to break down gelatin. Bromelain, ficin, or papain are used as meat tenderizers. Catalase and peroxidase blanch vegetables.

Opposing Viewpoints

Dr. Robert Young, a research scientist, has argued that enzymes can increase the acidity of the body and cause the destruction of healthy cells.

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