To Produce More Food, UF Scientists Look To Get More Mileage Out of Plant Enzymes (EurekAlert)

To Produce More Food, UF Scientists Look To Get More Mileage Out of Plant Enzymes

Enzymes play essential roles in the cells of every living thing, from bacteria to plants to people. Some do their jobs a few times and fizzle out. Others can repeat a task hundreds of thousands of times before they quit.

Organisms put a lot of energy into replacing worn-out enzymes, energy they could put into other processes. In plants grown for food, fuel, fiber or other purposes, longer-lasting enzymes could translate into increased yields, according to Andrew Hanson, eminent scholar and professor in the UF/IFAS horticultural sciences department.

“Replacing enzymes is a huge energy cost to organisms, but no one had ever really asked, ‘how long do enzymes last and what determines that?’ If you want to improve enzymes’ lifespans, you need to know which enzymes to target,” said Hanson, lead author of a new study in which researchers present a new benchmark for evaluating the durability of any enzyme.

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