Why are enzymes added to detergents?
Certain enzymes are very effective, in small amounts, for removing certain target substances. When enzymes find their designated stains, they lock on and remove them, then continue to the next stain. The enzymes used in laundry detergents act on materials that make up a variety of stains and soils so that these materials can be washed away more easily. These enzymes are named after the materials they can act upon, for example:
• proteases break down protein based stains,
• lipases break down lipid (fat) based stains,
• amylases break down starches and other carbohydrate based stains and
• pectinase remove fruit and pectin-based stains that traditional detergent ingredients have trouble removing, doing it efficiently at low wash temperatures.
Since one enzyme molecule can act on many substrate molecules, a small amount of enzyme added to a laundry detergent can provide a big cleaning benefit to the consumer.
The active site of the enzyme is open only to specific target substances with a matching chemical and 3-dimensional shape. If the substrate doesn't fit, it can't enter and no reaction occurs. This makes the action of enzymes highly specific for their substrates.
Like other types of catalysts, an enzyme can complete its chemical reaction without being used up or destroyed, leaving the enzyme protein available for yet another reaction. This means that one enzyme protein molecule can act on many substrate molecules. Eventually, all the substrate is gone and the enzyme stops working and will eventually break down on its own.
Enzymes are proteins produced by all living organisms that act as catalysts to speed up chemical reactions that would otherwise occur at a much slower rate or not at all. "Catalysts are materials that help reactions move from a beginning to an end. Catalysts are not used up in the reaction so they are available to help multiple reactions."
Certain enzymes have been used...