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Over 2000 different kinds of enzymes are known. Enzymes are highly specific in their function and have extraordinary catalytic power. 3. CELL CHEMISTRY 43 Each enzyme’s molecule contains an active site to which its specific substrate is bound during catalysis. Some enzymes are regulated and are called regulatory enzymes. Most enzymes are globular proteins. The building blocks of proteins are a-amino acids, and there are 20 common amino acids. Amino acids are named on the basis of the side (R) group attached to the a-carbon.
This is in contrast to all other known infectious agents that must contain nucleic acids (either DNA, RNA, or both). The word prion, coined in 1982 by Stanley B. Prusiner, is a portmanteau derived from the words protein and infection. Prions are responsible for the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in a variety of mammals, including bovine spongiform encephalopathy (also known as “mad cow disease”) in cattle and CreutzfeldteJakob disease in humans. All known prion diseases affect the structure of the brain or other neural tissue and all are currently untreatable and universally fatal.
4. 5. 6. 4. 1. 2. 3. 5. Summary 81 Problems 83 Bioprocess engineers seek chemicals and materials for human needs in a sustainable manner. It is the chemicals and materials from biological origin that can sustain the needs of humans. Microorganism also provides a tool for bioprocess engineers to manipulate the chemicals and materials so that they can meet the needs of humanity. Therefore, we shall first review some of the biological basics to learn how living organisms (more specific: microorganisms) function and what their important chemicals and materials are.