Understanding Enzymes

Understanding Enzymes| Nutraceuticals |Rebecca Spicer


Understanding Enzymes

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 Europe 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. 

Lock and Key


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.

All information is correct to the best of our knowledge and Nutraceuticals Group takes no responsibility for any errors or mistakes.

Here are some of the enzymes we currently supply.

Item Code Name
NIGEENZ000090 Amylase 2500 SKB/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000095 Amylase 5000 SKB/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000101 Amylase 50000 SKB/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000111 Amylase 100000 SKB/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000191 Bromelain 80 GDU/g 10:1 (Pineapple) (Ananas comosus)
NIGEENZ000201 Bromelain 1200 GDU/g (Pineapple) (Ananas comosus)
NIGEENZ000202 Bromelain 2400 GDU/g (Pineapple) (Ananas comosus)
NIGEENZ000203 Bromelain 5000 GDU/g (Pineapple) (Ananas comosus)
NIGEENZ000204 Bromelain 2000 GDU/g (Pineapple) (Ananas comosus)
NIGEENZ000206 Bromelain 2500 GDU/g (Pineapple) (Ananas comosus)
NIGEENZ000208 Catalase 600 Baker/g
NIGEENZ000209 Catalase 25000 CU/g
NIGEENZ000210 Cellulase (Trichoderma) 400 U/g
NIGEENZ000211 Cellulase (Trichoderma) 4000 U/g
NIGEENZ000213 Cellulase (Trichoderma) 35000 U/g
NIGEENZ000214 Chitinase 1000 U/g
NIGEENZ000215 Hemicellulase 50000 CU/g
NIGEENZ000218 Chitinase 200 U/g ¤
NIGEENZ000221 Chymotrypsin 75USP/mg ¤
NIGEENZ000251 Collagenase 250000U/g
NIGEENZ000261 Endopeptidase 10,000 HUT/g
NIGEENZ000265 Exopeptidase 15,000 U/g
NIGEENZ000271 Ficin (Vegetable Protease) (Ficus insipida) 250 BAPA/g (Allergen - Sulphites)
NIGEENZ000301 Glucoamylase 100000 U/g
NIGEENZ000305 Invertase 1000 SU/g
NIGEENZ000311 Maltase 500 DP/g
NIGEENZ000321 Maltase 12 DP/g
NIGEENZ000385 Lactase 300 ALU/g
NIGEENZ000401 Lactase 3000 ALU/g
NIGEENZ000402 Lactase 3500 ALU/g
NIGEENZ000501 Lactase 50000 ALU/g
NIGEENZ000505 Lactase 65000 ALU/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000511 Lactase 100000 ALU/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000550 Lactoperoxidase 1000U/mg (Allergen - Milk) ¤
NIGEENZ000585 Lipase 60 U/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000590 Lipase 1000 U/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000600 Lipase 4000 FIP/g
NIGEENZ000601 Lipase 5000 U/g
NIGEENZ000605 Lipase 10000 U/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000608 Lipase 50000 U/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000610 Nattokinase 2000 FU/g
NIGEENZ000620 Nattokinase 10000 FU/g
NIGEENZ000801 Pancreatin 4XNF (Fungal)
NIGEENZ000811 Pancreatin 4XNF (Porcine) ¤
NIGEENZ000901 Papain 2000 USP-U/mg (Papaya) (Carica papaya)
NIGEENZ000911 Papain 6000 USP-U/mg (Papaya) (Carica papaya)
NIGEENZ000915 Papain 30000 USP-U/mg (Papaya) (Carica papaya)
NIGEENZ000921 Pectinase 300 Endo-PG/g
NIGEENZ000925 Pectinase 30000 U/g
NIGEENZ001101 Pepsin 300NF (1:300) ¤ (Milk)
NIGEENZ001102 Pepsin 3000NF (1:3000) ¤ (Milk)
NIGEENZ001105 Pepsin 2500NF (1:2500) ¤ (Milk)
NIGEENZ001111 Pepsin 2000NF (1:2000) ¤ (Milk)
NIGEENZ001121 Pepsin 10000NF (1:10000) ¤ (Milk)
NIGEENZ001201 Phytase 3000 U/g
NIGEENZ001291 Protease 3 - 300000 HUT/g
NIGEENZ001301 Protease 3 - 30000 HUT/g
NIGEENZ001401 Protease 4.5 - 50000 HUT/g
NIGEENZ001490 Protease 200000 HUT/g (Fungal)
NIGEENZ001501 Protease 10000 HUT/g
NIGEENZ001511 Protease 5000 HUT/g
NIGEENZ001515 Protease 12500 HUT/g
NIGEENZ001521 Protease (Acid) 500 SAPU/g
NIGEENZ001601 Serrapeptase (Serratiopeptidase) Fermented 1600 U/mg - Export
NIGEENZ001603 Serrapeptase (Serratiopeptidase) Fermented 2000 U/mg - Export
NIGEENZ001605 Serrapeptase (Serratiopeptidase) Fermented 2200 U/mg - Export
NIGEENZ001607 Serrapeptase (Serratiopeptidase) Fermented 2400 U/mg - Export
NIGEENZ001651 Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) Bovine 8000 U/g ¤
NIGEENZ001655 Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) Bovine 50 U/g ¤
NIGEENZ001701 Sucrase 1000 SU/g
NIGEENZ001705 Sucrase 0.15SU/g
NIGEENZ001711 Invertase Sucrase 10000 SU/g
NIGEENZ001751 Trypsin 250USP/mg ¤
NIGEENZ003001 Ox Bile Powder CP2010 ¤