Enzymes are natural organic materials acting like chemical scissors to cut up proteins, fats and starches. Each type of enzyme is specific to each type of soil similar to a lock and key. Enzymatic detergents are generally neutral pH, materially compatible and biodegradable while offering extra biochemical cleaning power.
Protease enzymes work on protein soils through proteolytic action. As most body soils and blood are primarily protein, detergent manufacturers use protease as the main component in many enzymatic detergents. Proteolytic action by the protease enzymes detaches segments of long chain proteins while instruments are soaking. This reduces hand scrubbing at the sink and makes ultrasonic devices work more effectively.
Lipase is an enzyme specialist targeting lipids more commonly known as fats. As fats are a challenging soil to emulsify and remove, the lipase enzyme is especially useful.
Amylase and cellulase are two other enzyme specialists. Amylase targets tough sticky starches and cellulase enzymes help break up less soluble fibers. Detergents with amylase and cellulase are a good cleaning team for intestinal soils and gastroscopes. Enzymatic detergents and labels are not regulated in the U.S. Products labeled “single” enzymatic are usually protease only. “Dual” enzymatics may be two types of protease or amylase and protease. “Multi-tier” products may be mostly protease. True dual enzymatic detergents contain both protease and amylase. True multi-enzymatic detergents contain a variety of soil specific enzymes.
A side by side comparison under identical conditions may be needed to trial and evaluate new products.