Trypsin is an enzyme that helps us digest protein. In the small intestine, trypsin breaks down proteins, continuing the process of digestion that began in the stomach. It may also be referred to as a proteolytic enzyme, or proteinase.
Trypsin used widely in various biotechnological processes. The active trypsin acts with the other two principal digestive proteinases — pepsin and chymotrypsin — to break down dietary protein into peptides and amino acids. These amino acids are essential for muscle growth, hormone production and other important bodily functions.
In a tissue culture lab, trypsin is used to resuspend cells adherent to the cell culture dish wall during the process of harvesting cells.
Trypsin can also be used to dissociate dissected cells (for example, prior to cell fixing and sorting).
Trypsin can be used to break down casein in breast milk. If trypsin is added to a solution of milk powder, the breakdown of casein causes the milk to become translucent. The rate of reaction can be measured by using the amount of time needed for the milk to turn translucent.
Trypsin is commonly used in biological research during proteomics experiments to digest proteins into peptides for mass spectrometry analysis, e.g. in-gel digestion. Trypsin is particularly suited for this, since it has a very well defined specificity, as it hydrolyzes only the peptide bonds in which the carbonyl group is contributed either by an arginine or lysine residue.
Trypsin can also be used to dissolve blood clots in its microbial form and treat inflammation in its pancreatic form.
In veterinary medicine, typsin is an ingredient in wound spray products, such as Debrisol, to dissolve dead tissue and pus in wounds in horses, cattle, dogs, and cats.
In food, commercial protease preparations usually consist of a mixture of various protease enzymes that often includes trypsin. These preparations are widely used in food processing.
as a baking enzyme to improve the workability of dough
in the extraction of seasonings and flavorings from vegetable or animal proteins and in the manufacture of sauces
to control aroma formation in cheese and milk products
to improve the texture of fish products
to tenderize meat
during cold stabilization of beer
in the production of hypoallergenic food where proteases break down specific allergenic proteins into nonallergenic peptides, for example, proteases are used to produce hypoallergenic baby food from cow's milk, thereby diminishing the risk of babies developing milk allergies.