• Biotechnology is any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use.
  • It is the integration of natural sciences and engineering sciences in order to achieve the application of organisms, cells, parts thereof, and molecular analogs for products and services.
  • Biotechnology in the food processing sector makes use of micro-organisms for the preservation of food and for the production of a range of value-added products such as enzymes, flavor compounds, vitamins, microbial cultures, and food ingredients.
  • Recombinant gene technology, the best-known modern biotechnology, is widely employed in research and development for strain improvement.


  • Biocatalyst-catalyst of biological origin that initiates or modifies or speeds up biochemical rxn in a living body.
  • Biocatalysts are either proteins (enzymes) or, in a few cases, they may be nucleic acids (ribozymes; some RNA molecules can catalyze the hydrolysis of RNA
  • Most of the rxn in living org is catalyzed by a protein molecule called ENZYME.

What is ENZYME?

  • Enzymes are proteins that are essential for living systems and, in the right place, catalyze all chemical conversions required for the system’s survival and reproduction.
  • Are responsible for the bio-catalytic fermentation of sugar to ethanol by yeast, the rxn that forms the basis of making wine and beer.
  • Enzyme classification-6 category- oxidoreductase, transferases, hydrolases, lyases, isomerases, and ligases.
  • Of which more than 75% of industrial enzymes are hydrolases.
  • Ideally, enzymes are secreted from cells.
  • Most of the industrial enzymes are produced by relatively few microbial hosts like Aspergillus and Trichoderma fungi, Streptomyces mycelial bacteria

Enzyme Technology

  • The study of industrial enzymes and their uses is called enzyme technology.
  • Enzymes found in nature have been used since ancient times in the production of food products, such as cheese, sourdough, beer, wine, and vinegar, and in the manufacture of commodities such as leather, indigo, and linen.
  • All of these processes relied on either enzyme produced by spontaneously growing microorganisms or enzymes present in added preparations such as calves’ rumen or papaya fruit.
  • The development of fermentation processes, aimed specifically at the production of enzymes by use of selected production strains.
  • The use of recombinant gene technology has further improved manufacturing processes and enabled the commercialization of enzymes.


Enzymes have been exploited by humans for thousands of years.

Traditional foods and beverages like cheese, yoghurt, kefir, bread, vinegar, wine, beer and other drinks, and paper and textiles.

Modern era-1913, Otto Rohm-use of a crude protease mixture isolated from pancreases in laundry detergent.

An increasing no. of enzymes were found in mos and were cultured in large-scale fermentation to produce enzymes.

The no. of enzymes that could be produced in this fashion was limited because not all the microbes are amenable to large-scale fermentation.

The first industrial production of enzymes using mos was launched in the late part of the 19th century.

The early processes were based on microorganisms such as Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus oryzae, and Bacillus licheniformis.

With the introduction of genetically modified production strains in the late1980s, the industry was transformed again.

  • It was now possible to transfer genes from organisms that were not suitable for industrial production into industrial host organisms and to produce large amounts of enzymes from any enzyme class in a safe way.
  • In parallel, protein engineering technologies were developed enabling the properties of the enzymes to be altered to suit the application better.
  • Recombinant DNA technology has also opened up new avenues for food enzyme production.


Biocatalyst is gradually taking over from chemical catalysis in many industrial applications.

Enzymes are environmentally friendly, biodegradable, efficient, and cost in terms of resource requirements; as such, they provide benefits compared with traditional chemical approaches in various industrial processes.


  1. Enzyme for starch conversion Eg-HFCS
  • HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup):-
  • The enzymatic conversion of starch to high fructose corn syrup is a well-established process and provides a beautiful example of a bioprocess in which the consecutive use of several enzymes is necessary.

Starch slurry



  • It is the product obtained from corn starch which contains fructose and dextrose with less amt of high mol. wt. saccharides.
  • It is a delightful and clear syrup that is 18 times sweeter than sucrose making it useful in food and beverages for the health-conscious population.
  1. Enzymes for the feed industry

The use of enzymes as feed additives is also well established.

  • For ex-xylanases and β-glucanases-cereal-based feed for monogastric animals which, contrary to ruminants, are unable to fully degrade and utilize plant-based feeds containing high amounts of cellulose and hemicellulose.
  • Phytase- Aspergillus fumigatus- utilization of natural phosphorus bound in phytic acid in cereal-based feed for monogastric. Better utilization of total plant phosphorus, of which 85–90% is bound in phytic acid, is only obtained by adding the enzyme phytase to the feed.
  1. Enzymes for the food industry
  • Applications of enzymes in the food industry are many and diverse, ranging from texturizing to flavoring.
  • Transglutaminase- Streptoverticillium sp, Escherichia coli– as a texturing agent in the food processes, for ex, sausages, noodles and yoghurt, where cross-linking of proteins provides improved viscoelastic properties of the products.

Within the baking industry-

  • The lipolytic enzyme (phospho-lipases)-degrade polar wheat lipids to produce emulsifying lipids in situ.
  •  α-amylases and xylanases-water-binding capacity and retention in the starch and hemicellulose fractions of the bread (enzymatic prevention) maintaining softness and elasticity.
  • Amylase-capable of degrading amylopectin to a degree that prevents re-crystallization after gelatinization which provides the bread with elasticity.
  • The use of laccase for clarification of juice (laccases catalyze the cross-linking of polyphenols, resulting in an easy removal of polyphenols by filtration) and for flavor enhancement in beer are recently established applications within the beverage industry.

4. Processing of fats and oils

  • In the fat and oil industries, use of immobilized lipases in the interesterification of triglycerides is introduced in true large-scale applications.
  • Another recently introduced process is the removal of phospholipids in vegetable oils (‘de-gumming), using a highly selective microbial phospholipase.
  • The introduction of an enzyme-based step has enabled both energy and water savings for the benefit of both the industry and the environment.


  • Use of enzymes to improve textural and other properties of food (Eg-Transglutaminase, Laccases, Glucose, and hexose oxidases)
  • Use of enzyme to modify whey protein and other protein-based fat replacers (endopeptidases and proteases)
  • Production of flavors, flavour enhancers, and other protein-based specialty products

Binod G C

I'm Binod G C (MSc), a PhD candidate in cell and molecular biology who works as a biology educator and enjoys scientific blogging. My proclivity for blogging is intended to make notes and study materials more accessible to students.

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