Enzymes have played an important part in food production for centuries. One of the earliest examples of an industrial enzyme use was in the production of whiskey. Today, nearly all commercially prepared foods contain at least one ingredient that has been made with enzymes. Some of the typical enzyme use applications include the production of sweeteners, chocolate syrups, bakery products, alcoholic beverages, precooked cereals, infant foods, fish meal, cheese and dairy products, egg products, fruit juice, soft drinks, vegetable oil and puree, candy, spice and flavor extracts, and liquid coffee, as well as for dough conditioning, chill proofing of beer, flavor development, and meat tenderizing.
Enzymes are specialized proteins that act as catalysts to speed up a specific reaction. In most cases, enzymes used in food are used as processing aids where they aid in the manufacturing of food or food ingredients but do not have a function in the final food product. Due to their specialized nature, only a small amount of enzyme is necessary to complete the desired reaction during food processing.
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