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Enzymes for Alcohol

The production of fermented alcoholic drinks from starch-based raw materials has been practised since long. The raw material for this differs from, maize (corn) and rye to barley and wheat for whisky and other cereals for grain spirits.

But whatever the raw materials are, starch is still the basic ingredient. Starch is composed of long chains of glucose molecules and these have to be broken down into smaller molecules, which the yeast can transform into alcohol. Enzymes can carry out this process in two stages-liquefaction and saccharification.

Traditionally, enzymes have been provided by adding malt. However, since quite some time, there has been a change and in many countries malt has been totally replaced from distilling operations by the use of enzymes. There are a lot of advantages using industrial enzymes instead of malt, like small quantities of enzyme addition can replace large quantities of malt, resulting easy handling and storage. Even raw material costs are reduced by nearly 30% when switching to commercial enzymes.

Starch Liquefaction

Before enzymes can attack the starch, it must be gelatinised. This is usually done by pressure-cooking. Now-a-days, the old no pressure cooking method has been gaining in popularity, especially in smaller distilleries. Instead of temperatures around 150?C, the maximum temperature ranges from 60?C to 95?C. This results in energy savings and also capital savings since pressure vessels are not required. Whatever the processing technique, alpha amylases are used to break down the gelatinised starch to shorter molecules (dextrins).

Starch Saccharification

Saccharification is the second step in the process. A glucoamylase enzyme is used to break down the starch molecules and the dextrins. This enzyme is capable of achieving the complete degradation of the starch to fermentable sugars (glucose). During fermentation, these sugars are converted into alcohol by yeast in simultaneous saccharification and fermentation process.

Fermentation Improvement

Cereals, particularly maize have low soluble nitrogen. This results in poor yeast growth and longer fermentation time. By adding a small amount of protease enzyme helps in yeast growth and reduce fermentation time. During distillation process it may be necessary to reduce viscosity of the fermentation broth. To facilitate this beta glucanase / pentosanase enzymes are added.

Maps offers a range of amylases, glucoamylase, proteases for distilling depending on the processes and applications.

Palkolase HT Heat-stable alpha amylase for starch liquefaction
Palkolase LT Alpha amylase for starch liquefaction
Palkodex Glucoamylase for starch saccharification
Palkoamylo Fungal alpha amylase for starch saccharification
Palkotase NUP Bacterial neutral protease for better yeast growth and reducing fermentation time




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