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Trypsin Quick Read

History of Trypsin

The enzyme trypsin has a long and fascinating history dating back to the mid-19th century. Trypsin was first discovered by William Saville Kent, an English biochemist, in 1866 while studying the pancreas. He discovered that trypsin was present in pancreatic juice and was able to separate out trypsin from the other proteins in the juice.

The name "trypsin" originates from the Greek word "trypo" meaning "to break up". This is because of the ability of trypsin to break down proteins into smaller peptides. After its discovery, it was believed that trypsin could help in the digestion of proteins in the stomach. This would later become one of the common trypsin applications.

The use of trypsin in medicine and biochemistry did not begin until 1912, when Dr. William Halstead of Johns Hopkins University used trypsin to treat a patient with diabetes, who had been suffering from pancreatitis. The experiment was successful, and this marked the beginning of the medical use of trypsin.

Since then, trypsin has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including cystic fibrosis and cancer. It has also become a common tool in molecular biology and biochemistry, used to cleave proteins into smaller pieces for research purposes.

Over the years, the production of trypsin has been improved, making it easier to produce and more widely available. It is now produced through fermentation processes that allow for large-scale production of trypsin. It is also available in various concentrations and forms to meet different needs.

How Does Trypsin Work?

Trypsin works by cleaving peptide bonds, a process called hydrolysis, resulting in the breakdown of proteins into smaller polypeptides or amino acids. Trypsin is active at pH values between 8-10 and temperatures of 37°C to 40°C, meaning it can be used in a variety of applications.

Common Industries and Applications

Trypsin has been used in various industries since its discovery in the late 19th century. From medicine to food production to industrial processes, trypsin is an essential component in many different industries.

In pharmaceuticals, it’s common uses include a drug delivery agent, a catalyst for chemical reactions, cell culture growth media, aiding digestion, treating digestive issues, reducing inflammation, and treating certain skin conditions.

In food processing, it is used as an additive to increase the efficiency of food production. For example, trypsin is often added to meat products to help tenderize the meat and improve flavor. It is also used in cheese production and in some types of beer production.

In the biotechnology industry, Trypsin is used for protein engineering, for the development of antibodies, and in the production of enzymes. Scientists use trypsin to analyze proteins and study how they interact with other molecules. They also use trypsin to study cell structures and functions, and it is often used in genetic engineering experiments.

In the industrial sector, it is used to catalyze chemical reactions, such as polymerization or esterification.

Lastly, trypsin is utilized in the cosmetics industry to create certain beauty products and facial masks.


Trypsin is a type of serine protease enzyme that is commonly found in the digestive systems of humans and other animals. It is responsible for breaking down proteins into smaller polypeptide chains, making them easier to digest. Trypsin is produced naturally in the pancreas and is secreted into the small intestine, where it helps break down proteins found in foods such as dairy products, eggs, and meats.

Today, trypsin is used in a wide range of medical and industrial applications, from drug delivery to biomanufacturing to tissue engineering. Its ability to break down proteins into smaller peptides makes it an invaluable tool for researchers, pharmaceutical companies, and medical professionals alike.


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