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Pectinase

Pectinase is a general term for enzymes, such as pectolyase, pectozyme and polygalacturonase which are commonly referred to as “pectic” enzymes (Wikipedia, 2008). They can be extracted from fungi such as Aspergillus niger. The fungus produces these enzymes to break down the middle lamella in plants so that it can extract nutrients from the plant tissues and insert fungal hyphae (Wikipedia, 2008). If pectinase is boiled it is denatured (unfolded) making it harder to connect with the pectin at the active site, and produce as much juice (Wikipedia, 2008).   These enzymes break down pectin which is a polysaccharide substrate that is found in the cell walls of plants (Wikipedia, 2008). Pectinase enzymes are commonly used in processes involving the degradation of plant materials, such as speeding up the extraction of fruit juice from fruit, including apples and other fruits (Wikipedia, 2008).

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Pectinases have an optimum temperature and pH at which they are most active, it typically works best at 45 to 55 °C and work well at a pH of 4.5 to 5.5 (Wikipedia, 2008). Temperature has a complex effect on enzyme activity, the "optimum temperature" of an enzyme is the temperature in which the enzyme functions most efficient (Springer, 2007). An increase in temperature below the optimum results in an increase in the kinetic energy of enzymes (Springer, 2007). This leads to higher efficiency of enzyme-substrate complex formation; therefore a higher rate of reaction (Springer, 2007). At extreme temperatures above the optimum, the increased kinetic energy disrupts the bonds holding the active site; the enzyme is unstable and the shape of its active site changes (Springer, 2007). This means that the enzyme is less efficient and successful at enzyme-substrate complex formation. The enzyme is said to be denatured; it has lost its ability to catalyze reactions (Springer, 2007). Pectinase substances mainly consist of galacturonans and rhamnogalacturonans in which...

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