Max Rubner Conference 2014: Enzymes in Food Processing

Enzymes are useful biotechnological processing tools whose action can be controlled in the food matrix to produce higher quality food products. They have been used in the food industry for many years. These include enzymes used in baking, beverages and brewing, dairy, dietary supplements, as well as fats and oils. Even if the integration of enzymes in food and feed processes is a well-established approach, evidence clearly shows that dedicated research efforts are consistently being made as to make this application of biological agents more effective and/or diversified. In recent years, significant advances in enzyme engineering and biocatalyst design have fastened the pace of such developments. The conference aims to provide an updated overview on the applications of enzymes in the food sector, and of progresses made in respect to exploit more efficient biocatalysts, through screening, structural modification, and immobilization of enzymes. Targeted improvements aim at enzymes with enhanced thermal and operational stability, improved specific activity, modification of pH-activity profiles, and increased product specificity, among others. This has been mostly achieved through protein engineering and enzyme immobilization, along with improvements in screening. The latter has been considerably improved due to the implementation of high-throughput techniques, and due to developments in protein expression and microbial cell culture. Expanding screening to relatively unexplored environments has also contributed to the identification and development of more efficient biocatalysts. Technological aspects are considered, but legal and health aspects are also addressed.

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