Handling and storing enzymes practically

by Laurie Gorton
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Cool and dry — that’s how enzymes like to be stored. Practically speaking, temperatures below 80°F work best.

“Refrigeration can extend activity consistency if prolonged storage is necessary,” recommended Bill McKeown, vice-president of innovation at AB Mauri.

Enzymes are active ingredients and must be handled with care to maintain optimal performance, said Kathy Sargent, project manager, R.&D., Corbion Caravan.

“It is best to store enzyme-containing products at ambient temperatures or below and under dry conditions,” she said.

Enzyme activity will be stable under such conditions.

“It is important to keep enzymes away from elevated temperatures that can occur in sunlight or near motors,” said Joseph Herzog, technical sales director, Enzyme Development Corp. “Of course, enzymes should never be near ovens.”

However, most bakers don’t add enzymes as separate ingredients.

“They reach the bakery in the form of compounded ingredient blends, not single ingredients,” said Brian Fatula, vice-president, baking enzymes, DSM Food Specialties USA, Inc. “In the dry form, as delivered today, they need no special storage treatment.”

Actual shelf life depends on the carrier used to provide it to the baker. Jan Van Eijk, bakery research director, Lallemand Baking Solutions, explained that materials with low water activity (AW) such as redried flour, calcium sulfate or calcium carbonate provide 1½ years of shelf life when stored in a closed package to avoid water uptake. When regular flour is used as the carrier, shelf life may be shorter, nine months to a year.

Like many powdered materials, these ingredients get along best with humans when dusting is minimized.

“There is no specific safety issue linked to the use of enzymes, and no intake allergy has ever been demonstrated with the use of enzymes in food processing,” said Frank Devos, vice-president of R.&D., Puratos USA. However, he noted that in highly concentrated amounts, enzymes may cause respiratory sensitization in a dusty environment.

“When diluted in a dough conditioner, these risks are considerably reduced,” he added.
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