Tag Archives: enzymes

Jell-O Destroying Enzymes?! :O

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(Photo Credit:http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/jello%20gif)

I can never forget the time I ate my first bowl of jell-o. I was around 4 years old, quietly sitting in the classroom of my preschool, playing house with my favourite Barbie doll. It was snack time and my teacher brought each of us a small plastic bowl filled to the brim with a pretty, pink, wiggly and fruity smelling concoction. I had no clue what it was, but from the looks of it I knew I would like it! I took my first spoonful of the mysterious snack and I was in love! It tasted so sweet, like strawberries, and the texture was very squishy and slimy.

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(Photo Credit: http://queen-spade.deviantart.com/art/JELL-O-275537584)

 I was so excited to go home and ask my mummy to make more of the delicious grub because I was convinced it was my new favourite snack.  She entertained my newly found obsession, so while we were preparing it in the kitchen, I became more and more fascinated with how jell-o was formed. I now know that the consistency of jell-o can be attributed to a protein called gelatin.

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I recently found an article claiming that when preparing jell-o, fresh fruits should not be used as they are unable to set the jell-o mold. This is because fresh fruits contain proteolytic enzymes also known as proteases. Proteases are a group of enzymes whose function is to break down protein. They do this by hydrolyzing the peptide bonds that connect the amino acids together in the polypeptide chain that forms proteins.

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Gelatin is derived from collagen which is a protein found in animals especially in connective tissue. When preparing jell-o, the gelatin is heated and mixed with water and the substance naturally gels. The proteases such as those found in fruits such as pineapples, peaches and pears, break down the collagen in the fruit thus preventing it from successfully gelling.

However, Mike Adams, the author of the article, suggested that canned fruits can be used instead or fresh fruits since their proteolytic enzymes have already been destroyed by heat. This makes gelling possible and your yummy jell-o can be made!

Now that I’m older, jell-o doesn’t interest as much, I’ve moved on to bigger and better deserts (Häagen-Dazs :p) but if you’re still obsessing over this delight, I must urge you to take it in small quantities as too much jell-o can negatively affect your health. Try to substitute peach jell-o with maybe a real fruit, like a real peach!

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Resist the tempatation! 😀

Article Reference:

Adams, Mike. 2012. “Weird food fact: Jell-O molds cannot be made with many fresh fruits, because they contain enzymes that eat away the gelatin”. Accessed March 19, 2013. http://www.naturalnews.com/034872_Jell-O_fresh_fruit_enzymes.html

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collagen

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelatin

http://www.enzymeessentials.com/HTML/proteases.html

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Bromelain and Papain!

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Amazing Artwork by: (http://jmirman.deviantart.com/)

I love my dog. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. He makes me smile, cry, excited and scared at times but at the end of it all, he is one of my closest friends. How would you feel if one of your best friends was really sick? You would be worried and concerned and want to help them in any way you could right? That’s exactly how I felt when my family and I found out that my dog, Ares, had worms. Yes worms. Ew.

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Worms are one of pet owner’s worst nightmares but are also the most common health problem for dogs. How did we know he had worms? He habitually kept rubbing his butt on the ground also known as “scooting”. At first, watching him do it made me giggle a little but then I realized he wasn’t doing it for my amusement but rather he seemed to get some kind of relief from it, like he was getting rid of an itch. From that moment, there was no hesitation and straight to the vet we went.

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Ares’ favourite vet explained to us the various non-toxic worm remedies that we could use such as common herbs, ground pumpkin seeds as well as pureed carrots. But what fascinated me the most was that she suggested digestive enzymes such as bromelain and papain to take care of the problem.

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Figure 1 showing the structure of Bromelain

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Figure 2 showing the structure of Papain

In my Biochemistry class, we are learning more and more on the topic of enzymes which has always been interesting to me, especially since they are so amazingly powerful and efficient. In the lecture (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcA57r2gBL8) my teacher defined enzymes as biological catalysts that speed up a chemical reaction by providing an alternative pathway with a lower activation energy.

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Bromelain and papain are proteolytic enzymes, this means that they break down proteins. Bromelain comes from pineapple while papain is derived from papaya plants. These enzymes can be taken as supplements to aid in the battle against intestinal worms as well as digestive issues. The supplemental enzymes are corrosive towards the outer coating of the worms thus making them weak and forcing their grip away from the intestines.  Once their protective outer “skin” is gone, they can then be burned by the body’s digestive juices. Yes, those parasites can turn into mush!

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Bromelain and papain are not only useful for getting rid of those intruders but they also promote muscle contractions, reduce inflammation from wounds and reduce swelling.

Once we finally gave Ares his meds, a week later he was back to his normal self again,  running, jumping biting O.O… but no more butt rubbing YAY! Once again, superheroes bromelain and papain save the day and all is well in the world of Ares.

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References:

http://www.natural-wonder-pets.com/non-toxic-worm-remedies.html

http://rhrplus.com/b2evolution/blogs/index.php/Articles/enzymes-help-to-kill-worms-part-3

http://www.livestrong.com/article/293141-the-effects-of-bromelain-on-parasites/

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-connection-between-bromelain-and-papain.htm

http://shaeward.tripod.com/parasite_prevent.html

http://www.cesarsway.com/heartworm-awareness/Symptoms-of-Worms-in-Dogs

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papain

http://jmirman.deviantart.com/art/A-Lyrical-Superhero-189313434