Many industrial products and functional foods can be obtained from cheap and renewable raw agricultural materials. For example, starch can be converted to bioethanol as biofuel to reduce the current demand for petroleum or fossil fuel energy. On the other hand, starch can also be converted to useful functional ingredients, such as high fructose and high maltose syrups, wine, glucose, and trehalose. The conversion process involves fermentation by microorganisms and use of biocatalysts such as hydrolases of the amylase superfamily. Amylases catalyze the process of liquefaction and saccharification of starch. It is possible to perform complete hydrolysis of starch by using the fusion product of both linear and debranching thermostable enzymes. This will result in saving energy otherwise needed for cooling before the next enzyme can act on the substrate, if a sequential process is utilized. Recombinant enzyme technology, protein engineering, and enzyme immobilization are powerful tools available to enhance the activity of enzymes, lower the cost of enzyme through large scale production in a heterologous host, increase their thermostability, improve pH stability, enhance their productivity, and hence making it competitive with the chemical processes involved in starch hydrolysis and conversions. This review emphasizes the potential of using biocatalysis for the production of useful industrial products and functional foods from cheap agricultural produce and transgenic plants. Rice was selected as a typical example to illustrate many applications of biocatalysis in converting low-value agricultural produce to high-value commercial food and industrial products. The greatest advantages of using enzymes for food processing and for industrial production of biobased products are their environmental friendliness and consumer acceptance as being a natural process.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)