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Biocatalytic Coatings

SpecialChem / Mar 9, 2005

Enzyme-based additives can be formulated to create novel biologically and chemically active coatings, including those that self-decontaminate and detoxify organophosphorus compounds such as nerve gases and pesticides. Since the 1700s and the introduction of calf stomach as a "bioreactor" for the production of cheese, enzymes have assumed an ever-expanding role in industry and technology. This has largely come about as a result of an evolving understanding of protein structure function. For example, in 1894 the Dutch chemist Emil Fisher proposed that enzymes and their substrates fit together like a "lock and key," and many industrial enzymes are valued today for just that reason, being both very efficient and very specific catalysts. However, some of the most significant industrial enzymes with respect to market volume are detergent proteases. Enzymes, like the detergent proteases, have provoked a reevaluation of the "lock and key" paradigm, resulting in a new understanding that recognizes that the interacting molecules are flexible and can change their shape during the recognition process.

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