Enzymes vs. Bacteria, Unmuddying the Waters

Enzymes vs. Bacteria, Unmuddying the Waters

March 20, 2019

What Are Enzymes?

Enzymes are large molecules, mostly proteins, that speed up chemical reactions. Scientists have determined that enzymes are able to catalyze, or speed up, over 5,000 specific chemical reactions.

Appropriately, the substances on which enzymes act are called “substrates,” and the molecules produced as a result are called “products.” Which substrate an enzyme acts on is dependent upon the unique three-dimensional shape of each enzyme.

Substrate Enzyme
Fat, Oil, Grease Lipase
Paper Cellulase
Starch Amylase
Protein Protease

Enzymes are not living organisms, but they are produced by cells in living organisms in order to help convert food to energy, build compounds, or remove wastes quickly enough to sustain life.

Enzymes and Bacteria

Bacteria are one-celled organisms that require food (and the vitamins therein), oxygen, water, and appropriate temperatures in order to survive, just like humans. Different bacterial strains will produce different amounts and types of enzymes in order to speed up the break down of complex substrates, and then consume the smaller, simpler products as food.

If bacteria did not create enzymes, complex substrates would take too long to disintegrate into consumable products, and the bacteria would not be able to eat enough in a short enough period of time to survive and reproduce.

Bacteria and Waste

The complex substrates that enzymes act on and bacteria then consume include waste compounds that pollute the environment, such as those listed in the table above. Even substrates that sound relatively harmless, like starch, can and do wreak havoc on the planet and its inhabitants.

Biological remediation is a process through which safe bacteria are selected for the enzymes they produce and are purposefully introduced in a given location in order to remove a specific harmful waste. During this process, bacteria and enzymes work hand-in-hand, and the byproducts of digestion are more bacteria, water, and carbon dioxide, which are natural and inherently harmless. The bacteria continue to reproduce until the bacteria’s food is eliminated.

EnviroZyme is proud to pave the way to a more sustainable future by providing products that facilitate biological remediation. In addition to more than 20 off-the-shelf bacterial strains, we are also able to custom ferment bacterial strains to suit individual waste-elimination needs.

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