Hemicellulase is a type of enzyme that degrades the plant cell wall polymer hemicellulose.
- Hemicellulase is used commercially in baking products and in various other food preparation technologies. This type of enzyme is also produced by microorganisms that live in the human digestive tract and degrade dietary hemicellulose, which humans are incapable of digesting. It is taken by some as a supplement to aid in digestion.
A primary use of hemicellulase is in the baking industry. It is used in cake mixes, baked goods, and frozen dough. The enzyme enhances the quality of the dough and helps with storage life.
Fruit juices and alcoholic beverages can be produced using this type of enzyme. In particular, hemicellulases are used in the production of wines. They help remove unwanted compounds from the skins of the grapes that might contaminate the taste of the wine.
Although plants make hemicellulases for growth and development, most of the commercial interest is in the enzymes produced by microorganisms. The enzymes are produced industrially from bacteria and fungi. In some cases, these organisms have been genetically engineered to produce optimal amounts of hemicellulase.
The important role of hemicellulases in many biotechnological applications has led to a great deal of interest in determining their structure and function. The enzymes are often in a modular form; different parts of their structures have varying functions. For this type of enzyme, part is specialized to bind to the hemicellulose, while another part breaks down the bond connecting the sugars by a process known as hydrolysis. This involves adding a molecule of water to the bond, which causes it to break open.
Microorganisms that produce hemicellulases are also found in the digestive tract of humans and higher animals. Since humans cannot degrade hemicellulose, it is considered fiber. The microorganisms in the human body break down some of the hemicellulose, helping it to be digested. Supplements of hemicellulase are available, but as with any supplement, one should consult with a doctor before consuming them
- Please talk to your doctor before you take this supplement!
- Please consult your nutritionist
Source: WiseGeek, http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-hemicellulase.htm