Enzymes, such as proteases, lipases, amylases and cellulases, are highly efficient at breaking down tough-to-remove stains and are commonly added to household detergents to improve their performance. As well as producing the cleaning results consumers expect, these important ingredients minimize the environmental impact of detergents by reducing the use of harmful chemicals and enabling shorter washing times at low temperatures.
Alongside enzymes, detergents typically contain a wide range of other ingredients, including surfactants, bleaching agents and compounds known as builders, which are added to counteract the negative effects of hard ions in water. Enzymes are sensitive to inhibition by other molecules and their activity may decrease in the presence of other components or during storage. Determining enzyme activity and stability is, therefore, a key part of detergent formulation development. However, methods commonly used to determine enzymatic activity, inhibition and reaction kinetics can make achieving reliable and consistent measurements challenging.
In this blog post, we look at how modern automated analyzer technologies are helping to address these issues to deliver rapid and reliable results in enzyme analysis.
Traditional enzyme assays can be time-consuming and produce variable results
Enzyme assay method development often begins by identifying key variables in design of experiment (DoE) studies. To achieve reliable results, care must be taken to minimize inconsistencies, which can be challenging to achieve when performing experiments by hand. Even small variations in assay conditions can lead to significant differences in results, requiring repeat measurements and delaying progress. Furthermore, the limited throughput of analysis methods, such as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), means analysts must often wait hours to obtain a complete set of results. Establishing robust and transferable methods for enzyme analysis can, therefore, be tedious and time-consuming, and is an important bottleneck in detergent formulation development.
Enzyme assay automation provides walkaway efficiency in detergents analysis
Automation provides an effective solution for streamlining method development in detergent enzyme analysis. Automated enzyme analyzers now allow assay steps to be performed with enhanced precision and accuracy, eliminating inconsistencies associated with manual workflows to improve confidence in activity measurements. By delivering reliable results with unparalleled throughput, automated enzyme analyzers provide a fast and efficient alternative to manual assay development approaches.
The Thermo Scientific™ Gallery™ Enzyme Master and Thermo Scientific Gallery Plus Enzyme Master enzyme an... are the first fully automated discrete analyzers built for enzyme assay applications. They automate all key steps in enzyme analysis, including precision liquid handling, incubation temperature and incubation time. As a result, the Gallery Enzyme Master enzyme analyzers provide much easier control over the variables that affect results, streamlining method development by making assay execution simple and efficient. These automated systems are so easy to use that, once samples and reagents are loaded into the analyzer and the predefined assay method is chosen, operators can walk away from the instrument and focus on other tasks.
Both Gallery Enzyme Master enzyme analyzers support a wide range of incubation temperatures and provide extensive wavelength coverage to facilitate the handling of many different enzymes and measuring conditions used in detergent development. For added convenience, the analyzers also enable parallel pH and conductivity testing. This comprehensive functionality is particularly useful in detergent formulation development and stability studies, when working with products containing multiple components designed to maintain optimal pH and ionic strength – key factors affecting enzyme performance.
Gallery Enzyme Master enzyme analyzers perform all substrate additions in disposable low-volume cuvettes, eliminating inconsistencies due to carryover and enabling real-time kinetic measurement. This innovative design facilitates delivery of up to 350 results per hour, avoiding the time-consuming wait for results that is a common feature of HPLC workflows. With built-in quick-start functionality and smart incubation temperature control, the Gallery Enzyme Master enzyme analyzers further accelerate assay development by reducing experimental set-up time and maximizing efficiency.
Fully automated enzyme analysis: Rapid and reliable results at the push of a button
Fully automated enzyme analyzers offer a fast and convenient solution for determining enzymatic activity in detergent formulation development workflows, shortening method development times and providing consistent and reliable results. Thanks to their built-in simplicity and walkaway efficiency, these innovative analyzers deliver analytical confidence with exceptional ease.