The Application of Pepsin in Digestion
People need to eat food to keep our body operate normally and healthy. We like to eat bread, meat, vegetables, fruit, etc. Every day we swallow so many foods into our stomach. We just cook the meal, swallow each bite and let the food slip down your throat and then come into your stomach without any hesitation. That all we need to do.
But our body can’t absorb the food we eat directly. The food and drink must be changed into smaller molecules of nutrients before they can be absorbed into the blood and carried to cells throughout the body. This process is called digestion. Digestion is the process by which food and drink are broken down into their smallest parts so that the body can use them to build and nourish cells and to provide energy.
In the process of digestion, the most important part is digestive system. The digestive system is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus. Inside this tube is a lining called the mucosa. In the mouth, stomach, and small intestine, the mucosa contains tiny glands that produce juices to help digest food. In the digestive system an important thing cannot be ignored, that is Pepsin.
But what is Pepsin? Pepsin is an enzyme whose zymogen (pepsinogen) is released by the chief cells in the stomach and that degrades food proteins into peptides. It was discovered in 1836 by Theodor Schwann. It was the first enzyme to be discovered, and, in 1928, it became one of the first enzymes to be crystallized, by John H. Northrop. Pepsin is a digestive protease, a member of the aspartate protease family.
Pepsin as a digestive enzyme found in gastric juice that catalyzes the breakdown of protein to peptides, plays an important role in the process of digestion. It breaks down polypeptides through a general acid-base catalysis in which water is an essential participant. This process involves the abstraction of a protein from water, so the low pH atmosphere plays a central role in the enzyme's function. The pH causes the denaturation of most proteins, ensuring the tertiary structure of these polypeptides does not prevent the active site of pepsin from breaking them down. Porcine pepsin A is found in the gut of pigs and the very similar pepsin is also present in the human gut. This pepsin is released by the gut following the ingestion of food by the organism so that the proteins in the food can be broken down and eventually turned into energy. The signal pathway is begun by the vagus nerve and leads to the release of both gastric acid, also known as hydrochloric acid, and pepsinogen. The hydrochloric acid lowers the pH, triggering the conversion of inactive pepsinogen into active pepsin and facilitating the breakdown of any polypeptides in the ingested food.
Pepsin is used for a variety of applications in food manufacturing: to modify and provide whipping qualities to soy protein and gelatin, to modify vegetable proteins for use in nondairy snack items, to make precooked cereals into instant hot cereals, and to prepare animal and vegetable protein hydrolysates for use in flavoring foods and beverages. It is used in the leather industry to remove hair and residual tissue from hides and in the recovery of silver from discarded photographic films by digesting the gelatin layer that holds the silver.
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