Food and feed is possibly the area where processing anchored in biological agents has the deepest roots. Despite this, process improvement or design and implementation of novel approaches has been consistently performed, and more so in recent years, where significant advances in enzyme engineering has fastened the place of such developments. Targeted improvements aim at enzymes with enhanced thermal and operational stability, improved specific activity, modification of pH-activity profiles, and increased product specificity, among others. This has been mostly achieved through protein engineering and enzyme immobilization, along with improvements in screening. The latter has been considerably improved due to the implementation of
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From then on, the trend for the design and implementation of processes and production of goods anchored in the use of enzymes has steadily increased. Enzymes are currently among the well established products in biotechnology, from US $1.3 billion in 2002 to US $4 billion in 2007; it is expected to have reached US $5.1 billion in a rough 2009 year, and is anticipated to reach $7 billion by 2013. In the overall, this pattern corresponds to a rise in global demand slightly exceeding 6% yearly. Part of this market is ascribed to enzymes used in large-scale applications, among them are those used in food and feed applications. These include enzymes used in baking, beverages and brewing, dairy, dietary supplements, as well as fats and oils, and they have typically been dominating one, only bested by the segment assigned to technical enzymes. The latter includes enzymes in the detergent, personal care, leather, textile and pulp, and paper industries. A recent survey on world sales of enzymes ascribes 31% for food enzymes, 6% for feed enzymes and the remaining for technical enzymes. A relatively large number of companies are involved in enzyme manufacture, but major players are located in Europe, USA and Japan.