An Introduction to Enzyme Engineering (Enzymology) & Prospects

5 minutes Read                                                                                                                           Date: 13-January-2023

An Introduction to Enzyme Engineering (Enzymology) & Prospects

Enzymes are proteinaceous molecules that work as a catalyst for biochemical reactions in our bodies. Most enzymes are proteins having catalytic capabilities to trigger metabolic and chemical reaction processes that are a must to sustain life. These are also defined as biological polymers that contribute to biochemical reactions. The enzymes with exception of RNase are made by amino acid processes occurring in the form of a polypeptide chain. Do you know, ‘Wilhelm Kühne proposed the term ‘enzyme’ in 1877’? Today, Enzymology has become a widely known and popular branch of biochemistry specifically focused to understand how the enzymes act through a relationship between structures and functions as well as how they fold in the native state.

Enzyme Structure

The outcome of a linear chain of amino acids, enzymes form a three-dimensional structure. The sequence of amino acid processes specifies the structure that triggers the catalytic activity of enzymes. On being heated, the enzyme’s structure results in a loss of enzyme activity. Enzymes are large ranging from 62 amino acid residues to 2500 amino acid residues present in fatty acid syntheses. Only a small part of enzyme structure is involved in catalysis. The enzyme’s active site is built by catalytic and binding sites together.

Enzymes Classification

According to the International Union of Biochemists (I U B), enzymes are classified into six functional classes based on the reaction type they catalyze.

            Biochemical Property  
 Transferases                                                                                                                              These help in the transportation of functional groups in donor and acceptor molecules.          
These catalyze the oxidation reaction supporting electrons to change their form.
These add water, carbon dioxide/ ammonia across the bonds or eliminate these to build e-bonds.          
These catalyze the hydrolysis reaction and add water to divide and hydrolyze bonds.
Ligases                                                                                                                              These charge the catalysis of a ligation process.
These catalyze the structural shifts in a molecule causing a change in molecule shape.

Increasing Importance of Enzymes Engineering

The catalytic efficiency of enzymes is multiple times higher than that of an inorganic catalyst. Besides having standard characteristics of a general chemical catalyst, enzymes have the operational advantages of excellent catalytic efficiency, mild reaction conditions, and strong specificity. The relatively new enzyme engineering is formed by the combination of chemical technology and enzyme theory. It is being adopted worldwide to eliminate many inherent shortcomings of different chemical conversion processes in industrial applications. Today, enzyme engineering has become an important driving force to introduce great changes in the conventional chemical industry. With the evolvement of enzyme engineering, enzyme usage has become an integral process for a range of industrial applications in diverse business sectors.

Applications of Enzymes

Enzymes help produce environment-friendly products manufactured using less water, raw materials, and energy while generating less waste. The more common applications of enzymes that keep certified enzymes engineering specialists in high demand are-

1. Enzymes Engineering Applications in Biotechnology: The application of genetic engineering, medicinal therapies, applied immunology, and diagnostics is making traditional fermentation and biotechnological tools more beneficial and effective to particular production processes; and, enzymes engineering is an integral part of all these to give new dimensions to molecular biology.

2. Enzymes Engineering Applications in Environmental Management: Enzymes are being used to sustain a clean environment in a number of industries including animal feed, detergent, agro-food, oil, pulp & paper, leather, petroleum, textile, biochemical, and specialty chemical, etc. Gene shuffling, nanotechnology, and high throughput screening are the future scopes of enzyme applications.

3. Enzymes Engineering Application in Food Industry: Enzymes are used widely in the food industry as cost-effective processing aids. The significant users of enzyme engineering in food processing are the manufacturers of cheese, milk, yogurt, fruit juice, beer, wine, bread, cookies, meat, etc.

4. Enzyme Applications for Human Wellness: Enzymes are vital components for the wellness of any living organism including micro-organisms, humans, plants, and animals. Enzymes keep our organs, muscles, bones, nerves, etc growing and functioning well. Our digestion system will fail without enzymes.

5. Enzymes in Pharmaceutical Industry: The success of the pharmaceutical industry highly depends upon the advanced usage of enzyme engineering. Enzymes have unique characteristics to catalyze the conversion of the target molecules into a desired product.

The other futuristic enzyme engineering applications that keep industries busy in hiring qualified enzyme engineers are-

  • Enzymes for oncology and thrombus treatment
  • Enzymes for cell biology
  • Enzyme Libraries for directed evolution
  • Enzyme for antibody research
  • Enzymes for diagnostic and bio-analysis

Future of Enzymes Engineering

With great insights into enzyme catalytic biosynthesis, structure, mechanisms, and fast development of chemical technologies, enzyme engineering is going to play a more critical and wider role in bioengineering. Protein engineering and enzyme modification with genetic engineering are the main driving forces to help vivid industries and business sectors produce better products in a cost-effective way. The construction of new enzymes in a form better than natural functional enzymes is giving a new direction to enzyme engineering research. The revolutionary techniques of enzyme engineering enable us to tailor existing enzymes to construct highly efficient innovative industrial enzymes for the production of user-friendly value-added products.

Career-Scope in Enzymes Engineering & Biotechnology

An Enzyme Engineer is a professional with certified knowledge and expertise in altering the amino acid sequence to accelerate the enzyme activity process and improve its efficiency. The scope of enzyme engineering involves the strategic implementation of advanced technology to eliminate the negative impacts of native enzyme usage. The global enzymes market is expected to reach $10.2 billion by 2031 growing at a CAGR of 6% from 2022 to 2031.

Enzyme and Biochemical engineer has a tremendous opportunity to advance their professional career in personal, contractual, and permanent engagements. The major recruiters for enzyme engineers are pharmaceutical firms, textile manufacturing companies, polymer industries, water treatment industries, chemical engineering industries, and several other sectors including food and beverage. The R&D sector also offers excellent growth opportunities for enzyme engineers. The salary of a biotech Enzymologist in India varies from INR 5,00,000 – INR 7,00,000 depending on experience and expertise. High-in-demand job roles for enzymes engineers are-
  • Research Associate
  • Research Scientist
  • QC Officer
  • Executive Regulatory Affairs
  • Scientist Enzyme Catalysis

A Roadmap to Become an Enzymologist

To develop a successful career in enzymology you need deep professional insights into different aspects of enzymology driven by a range of certification courses related to biochemistry. The numbers of online education platforms conduct a range of short-term courses to provide certified skills in enzymology and biochemistry. The key knowledge domains for a competitive enzyme process engineer, research associate, or enzyme scientist are-

  • Basics of Enzyme
  • Enzyme Structure
  • Enzyme Characterization
  • Enzyme assay system and Kinetics
  • Enzyme-Substrate interaction
  • Enzyme Inhibitor Designing
  • Enzyme Applications
  • Cloning of Enzyme
  • Enzyme Production
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