When we think about the sweet treats that bring joy to our lives, one ingredient stands out – sugar. Whether it’s in the form of a candy bar, a cake, or even a simple cup of tea with sugar, sucrose plays a significant role in satisfying our cravings for sweetness. But have you ever wondered how this complex molecule is broken down into simpler forms? This is where invertase enzyme comes into play.
Invertase enzyme, also known as beta-fructofuranosidase or sucrase, is an essential catalyst in the process of hydrolyzing sucrose. It belongs to the class of enzymes called glycoside hydrolases and can be found naturally in various organisms such as plants, fungi, and bacteria.
The story of invertase begins with its discovery by French chemist Émile Hilaire Amagat back in 1860. He observed that invertase enzyme when yeast was added to a solution containing sucrose, it caused fermentation and produced alcohol along with carbon dioxide gas. Further investigations led scientists to identify invertase as the key player responsible for breaking down sucrose into glucose and fructose.
So how does invertase accomplish this transformation? When sucrose enters our body through food consumption or digestion processes, it encounters invertase enzymes present in our saliva and small intestine. These enzymes act on the glycosidic bond between glucose and fructose molecules within sucrose molecules.
Invertases work by cleaving this bond through hydrolysis – adding water molecules to break apart chemical bonds. As a result of this reaction catalyzed by invertases, one molecule of sucrose splits into two separate molecules: glucose (a monosaccharide) and fructose (another monosaccharide). These simpler sugars are then easily absorbed by our bodies for energy production or storage.
The significance of invertase enzyme goes beyond its role in our digestive system. It is widely used in the food industry to produce a variety of sweet delights. Invertase is commonly employed in confectionery, where it helps create soft-centered chocolates and fondants. By adding invertase to these products, manufacturers can achieve a smooth texture and prevent crystallization of sugar, resulting in a delightful melt-in-your-mouth experience.