On Enzymes...And Sustainability

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Squeeze it.

The act of placing your hands around a loaf and waiting for that springy bounce back is so innate, you may no longer consider the simple truth about bread: softness equals freshness.

This post is brought to you in partnership with Novozymes - the world leader in biological solutions.  Opinions, as always, are my own. 

Not so long ago, that hallmark of quality was a challenge for bakers to maintain.  The cost?  Bread that staled within a day or two resulted in piles of loaves unfit for consumption, setting off a domino effect of waste that cost both the baking industry and the environment.  Tons of wasted product.  The emissions used to transport it.  And what about all the plastic bags, fasteners, and twist-ties encasing those loaves?

Living in a self-proclaimed “city by the sea,” that last bit is near and dear to my heart: there is nothing more cringe-worthy than the thought of plastic polluting our waterways and compromising the health of the aquatic ecosystem.

Now back to that soft, aromatic, fresh bread.  To what do we owe thanks for the fact we can purchase a loaf on Sunday and enjoy a dependably delicious peanut butter and jelly come Friday, while also revolutionizing the environmental sustainability of the baking industry?  The answer may surprise you.

One word: enzymes.  These specialized, naturally-occurring proteins are found in people, animals, plants, and every other living organism.  You may be familiar with enzymes in the human body such as salivary amylase (which aids in the digestion of starch).  They’re also used across forty different industries to improve processes.  The result?  Greater yield of consumable product, and a reduction in the use of raw materials, water, and energy.  In short, enzymes help provide more food for a growing population while protecting precious (and limited) natural resources.

The utilization of 1 pound of amylase to maintain freshness of bread results in the reduction of 3,800 pounds of CO2 emissions.


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Here are some other ways enzymes are working to bring more to the consumer at a lower environmental cost:

-Keeping clothes out of hot water: literally.  Bright and fresh laundry using the cold-water cycle is made possible by enzymes in detergents.  These same enzymes also lessen the need to formulate detergent with phosphates.

-Smarter livestock feed.  Enzymes help your favorite proteins (pork, anyone?)  grow healthier and faster by aiding the animal’s absorption of phosphorus.  The end result?  Less phosphorus emitted into the environment.

-Responsible agriculture. Enzymes have the capability of converting corn stalks into advanced biofuels, thereby reducing greenhouse gas admissions.


Want to know more about how enzymes are improving nutrition and the environment?  Visit www.novozymes.com

Enjoy your food.  Enjoy your life.  And thank an enzyme!