Chemistry Ert

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Topics: Starch, Enzyme
Alpha amylase is an enzyme that aids in the breakdown of starch and glycogen to form glucose and maltose through the hydrolyses of alpha linked polysaccharides1. Starch is a complex carbon and is the main energy storage material found in plants and some bacteria. It is a major component of food as it supplies plants with energy and carbon. Starch consists of two types of polysaccharides called amylose and amylopectin1.The properties of starch can depend on the number of alpha 1,4 glycosidic bonds and the nature of branching. It also is the starting material for ethanol production. Ethanol production is composed of 5 general steps, grinding, cooking, fermentation, distillation and benefitability. Alpha amylase is used during the cooking step to hydrolyse starch into fermentable sugars2. Alpha amylase uses amino acids on the active site to cleave bonds so that the substrate will be broken down and new bonds can be formed. It cleaves the substrate in the middle by breaking the alpha linkages 1,4 of starch. The purpose of this ERT is to compare and contrast the functions of alpha amylase in the production of ethanol, with another commodity enzyme called Chymosin that is a protease and is used in the cheese industry.

The production of ethanol requires the breakdown of starch from a polymer to a monomer such as glucose. The three general process steps, gelatinization, liquefaction and saccharification are used in converting starch to dextrose. Firstly starch granules found in nature are resistant to enzymic breakdown thus the process of gelatinization has to be applied. Gelatinization is the swelling of starch granules in the presence of water and heat. This allows enzymes to attack the starch as it has become an amorphous gel. In ethanol production two enzymes are used, endoenzyme alpha amylase and exoenzyme glucoamylase. The alpha amylase is added to hydrolyse the starch and convert it into dextrin, also known as grain slurry before it thickens and becomes

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