Where to find enzymes?
Are you a biohacker or simply a curious scientist who is searching for enzymes? Well, look no further my friend. In this article, we will guide you on where to find enzymes and provide some useful tips that will make your life easier.
The Basics of Enzymes
Before we dive into the details, let’s refresh our memory on what exactly an enzyme is. Simply put, an enzyme is a protein molecule that speeds up chemical reactions without being consumed in the reaction itself (amazing right?!). These molecules are essential in all living organisms as they play incredible roles in metabolism (meaning breaking down food) but also include functions from signaling pathways and DNA replication (mind-blowing stuff!).
Enzymes come in different shapes and sizes with specific capabilities dictated by their amino acid sequence or ‘structure’ – kind of like how different lego pieces can build completely different things depending on their shape!
Natural Sources of Enzymes
Now that we have got some basic understanding out of the way let’s move onto the fun part: where do we find these magical catalysts?
Fruits & Vegetables
You may be surprised to learn that fruits and vegetables contain large numbers of natural enzymes. For example:
– Pineapple contains bromelain which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.
– Papaya contains papain which helps break down tough proteins making it ideal for meat tenderization (perfect excuse for more BBQs).
– Apples contain polyphenol oxidase which causes browning when exposed to air (so think twice before cutting them up if you want them looking pretty!)
Microorganisms such as bacteria(yeah those dirty little fellas!)and fungi are excellent sources for enzymes. They produce extracellular enzymes meaning they secrete them outside of their cell walls – this allows for easier extraction and purification.
- Trichoderma fungi produce cellulase which is used to break down cellulose in plant material making ethanol production more efficient.
- Pseudomonas bacteria have been known to produce amylase, the enzyme that breaks down starch into simple sugars such as maltose.
Many organs within animals contain specific enzymes relevant for their body’s functioning.
- Salivary glands found in the mouth contain amylase that begins starch breakdown when ingesting carbohydrates-packed meals like pasta(cue rumbling stomachs)
- Pancreas contains several digestive enzymes including proteases, lipases & pancreatic amylase (who knew your pancreas was such a hero!)
(image of Joker whistle)
Phew – that was just scratching the surface! The possibilities are endless man!
If you can’t find what you’re looking for naturally no need to be disheartened. Technology comes in handy here with synthetic enzymes being created via biotechnology methods wherein selected genes are inserted into host organisms (known as recombinant DNA technology business).
Some examples include:
– Restriction endonucleases (added bonus of its name sounding like an indestructible cyborg from 80’s sci-fi) which make precise cuts on DNA strands widely useful for gene cloning. By using these endonucleases scientists can create hybrid plasmids containing cloned fragments derived from different sources thus obtaining ‘recombinant’ DNA molecules.
– Taq polymerase is another famous example involved heavily in PCR (not sure coolness levels of this creation though… sorry taqwizokinaceyyy not everyone can be a superhero!).
Now let’s get onto some practical tips & tricks:
Tips and Tricks
There are certain factors one needs to keep in mind while researching to make enzyme discovery less stressful(hint:stop pulling out hair then we will move ahead). Here are some tips and tricks you should keep in mind while searching:
Keep the specifics
Be specific about what you are looking for.For instance, if it’s medical enzymes related to cancer treatment rather than using generic keywords like ‘Where can I find all Enzymes?’, be explicit with phrases such as ‘restricted enzyme for prostate cancer patients’will significantly help narrow down your search results.
Know Your Enemies
Know what analytical tools at your disposal.It is paramount that researchers know their enemy before setting on a quest. Analytical means such as electrophoresis or spectroscopy comes handy when particular enzymatic activity must be monitored from mixed samples.(Because finding gold among rocks ain’t easy…)
Collaborating with fellow scientists should not be underestimated!Finding peers working on similar projects will aid by decreasing workload and also provide different perspectives of an approach in research. Online forums or group chats run by enthusiast enthusiasts (Pun intended ) promotes knowledge sharing hence facilitating the attainment of desired end goals(shortcuts yaay)!
As we wrap up this fun-filled article (amirite?), remember that there is a wealth of sources where enzymes can be found- from natural to synthetic-but one has got to have persistence especially given the specificity required during most research cases.In summary: Be specific, know your tools & network away.Happy hunting (wish me luck writing my next AI paper based off “Should AI Assist Scientists In Finding Enzymes?”)