One of the questions we are asked the most is what the units following our enzyme products actually mean.

Understanding enzyme activity can be very complex and confusing, however, Nutraceuticals Group is here to shed some light on how enzymes work and therefore, why enzyme units aren’t as mystifying (troublesome?) as they first appear to be. 

How do Enzymes work?

Enzymes are biological catalysts, enhancing the speed of a chemical reaction, without being used up in the process. They are critical to lowering the amount of energy needed for a reaction to begin. To do this they lower the energy of the transition state, the unstable state that a product must pass through in order to become a reactant.

Enzymes bind to specific substrates; they have active sites made of amino acids, forming a specific shape of the exact substrate – a bit like a lock and key. This means they are only able to catalyse certain reactions. Not only do enzymes catalyse specific reactions, but they also require specific conditions to work, such as temperature and pH.

Higher temperatures generally increase the rate of a reaction, allowing for greater substrate turnover while pH influences the active site shape of the enzyme allowing for greater binding to the substrate. 

Enzyme Functions

Enzymes have numerous functions from giving fireflies their renowned glow (luciferase) to allowing virus cells to break into cell walls and infect. In the human body, enzymes facilitate movement by stimulating muscle contraction, replicate DNA for growth and are vital to the body’s digestion of food. During digestion large molecules such as starch and protein are broken into smaller ones enabling their absorption by the intestines. Without these enzymes the human body would be unable to absorb the nutrients it needs. 

Enzyme Potency

Keeping the function of enzymes in mind, we can now explore why they have such a unique way of being measured. Unlike other products, enzymes aren’t measured on weight or quantity – they’re measured on the amount of work they’re capable of doing

For example Protease 5000 HUT/g is less potent and therefore will catalyse less substrate than Protease 10,000 HUT/g. Not only are enzymes classified by amount of work done, naming conventions may also include at what conditions they are most effective. For example, Protease 4.5 5000 HUT/g, indicates that  the protease works best under pH 4.5. Understanding enzyme efficacy is vital when deciding on the perfect enzyme potency for the end use

Enzyme Units

Measuring enzymes according to the amount of substrate they break down, means that enzyme activity units are specific to the enzyme and substrate, therefore, one standard unit of measurement for all enzymes would not depict their true potency. For example, you can’t use the same units to measure the amount of protein protease breaks down and the amount of starch amylase breaks down – because they make different products. Although these specific units are vital to accurately measure enzyme activity, their complexity and the vast amount of them can be difficult to interpret.

Enzyme units can be split according to what standard they’re measured against: either the Food Chemical Codex (FCC) or USP. While the FCC compendium, set by the United States Pharmacopeia, specifies activity units of fungal and plant enzymes, USP units are more commonly used for those which are animal derived. USP units are listed as USP/mg, whereas FCC units are split depending on enzyme type, for example:

  • Lactase: ALU/g
  • Proteases: HUT/g, PU/mg, PC/g or SAP/g
  • a-Amylase: DU/g

Click Here for our handy tools page on Enzyme Activity Measurement and Potency

Or please feel free to contact our friendly and knowledgeable technical sales colleagues to help guide you to the best solutions for your formulations.

Here are some of the enzymes we currently supply:

Item CodeName
NIGEENZ000090Amylase 2500 SKB/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000095Amylase 5000 SKB/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000101Amylase 50000 SKB/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000111Amylase 100000 SKB/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000191Bromelain 80 GDU/g 10:1 (Pineapple) (Ananas comosus)
NIGEENZ000201Bromelain 1200 GDU/g (Pineapple) (Ananas comosus)
NIGEENZ000202Bromelain 2400 GDU/g (Pineapple) (Ananas comosus)
NIGEENZ000203Bromelain 5000 GDU/g (Pineapple) (Ananas comosus)
NIGEENZ000204Bromelain 2000 GDU/g (Pineapple) (Ananas comosus)
NIGEENZ000206Bromelain 2500 GDU/g (Pineapple) (Ananas comosus)
NIGEENZ000208Catalase 600 Baker/g
NIGEENZ000209Catalase 25000 CU/g
NIGEENZ000210Cellulase (Trichoderma) 400 U/g
NIGEENZ000211Cellulase (Trichoderma) 4000 U/g
NIGEENZ000213Cellulase (Trichoderma) 35000 U/g
NIGEENZ000214Chitinase 1000 U/g
NIGEENZ000215Hemicellulase 50000 CU/g
NIGEENZ000218Chitinase 200 U/g ¤
NIGEENZ000221Chymotrypsin 75USP/mg ¤
NIGEENZ000251Collagenase 250000U/g
NIGEENZ000261Endopeptidase 10,000 HUT/g
NIGEENZ000265Exopeptidase 15,000 U/g
NIGEENZ000271Ficin (Vegetable Protease) (Ficus insipida) 250 BAPA/g (Allergen – Sulphites)
NIGEENZ000301Glucoamylase 100000 U/g
NIGEENZ000305Invertase 1000 SU/g
NIGEENZ000311Maltase 500 DP/g
NIGEENZ000321Maltase 12 DP/g
NIGEENZ000385Lactase 300 ALU/g
NIGEENZ000401Lactase 3000 ALU/g
NIGEENZ000402Lactase 3500 ALU/g
NIGEENZ000501Lactase 50000 ALU/g
NIGEENZ000505Lactase 65000 ALU/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000511Lactase 100000 ALU/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000550Lactoperoxidase 1000U/mg (Allergen – Milk) ¤
NIGEENZ000585Lipase 60 U/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000590Lipase 1000 U/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000600Lipase 4000 FIP/g
NIGEENZ000601Lipase 5000 U/g
NIGEENZ000605Lipase 10000 U/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000608Lipase 50000 U/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000610Nattokinase 2000 FU/g
NIGEENZ000620Nattokinase 10000 FU/g
NIGEENZ000801Pancreatin 4XNF (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000811Pancreatin 4XNF (Porcine) ¤
NIGEENZ000901Papain 2000 USP-U/mg (Papaya) (Carica papaya)
NIGEENZ000911Papain 6000 USP-U/mg (Papaya) (Carica papaya)
NIGEENZ000915Papain 30000 USP-U/mg (Papaya) (Carica papaya)
NIGEENZ000921Pectinase 300 Endo-PG/g
NIGEENZ000925Pectinase 30000 U/g
NIGEENZ001101Pepsin 300NF (1:300) ¤ (Milk)
NIGEENZ001102Pepsin 3000NF (1:3000) ¤ (Milk)
NIGEENZ001105Pepsin 2500NF (1:2500) ¤ (Milk)
NIGEENZ001111Pepsin 2000NF (1:2000) ¤ (Milk)
NIGEENZ001121Pepsin 10000NF (1:10000) ¤ (Milk)
NIGEENZ001201Phytase 3000 U/g
NIGEENZ001291Protease 3 – 300000 HUT/g
NIGEENZ001301Protease 3 – 30000 HUT/g
NIGEENZ001401Protease 4.5 – 50000 HUT/g
NIGEENZ001490Protease 200000 HUT/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ001501Protease 10000 HUT/g
NIGEENZ001511Protease 5000 HUT/g
NIGEENZ001515Protease 12500 HUT/g
NIGEENZ001521Protease (Acid) 500 SAPU/g
NIGEENZ001601Serrapeptase (Serratiopeptidase) Fermented 1600 U/mg – Export
NIGEENZ001603Serrapeptase (Serratiopeptidase) Fermented 2000 U/mg – Export
NIGEENZ001605Serrapeptase (Serratiopeptidase) Fermented 2200 U/mg – Export
NIGEENZ001607Serrapeptase (Serratiopeptidase) Fermented 2400 U/mg – Export
NIGEENZ001651Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) Bovine 8000 U/g ¤
NIGEENZ001655Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) Bovine 50 U/g ¤
NIGEENZ001701Sucrase 1000 SU/g
NIGEENZ001705Sucrase 0.15SU/g
NIGEENZ001711Invertase Sucrase 10000 SU/g
NIGEENZ001751Trypsin 250USP/mg ¤
NIGEENZ003001Ox Bile Powder CP2010 ¤