Biocatalysis pp 277-308 | Cite as

Significance of Enzymes and Their Application in Agriculture

  • Anna Piotrowska-Długosz


Almost all biochemical reaction in living cells requires the participation of enzymes, biological catalysts which speed up reactions by lowering the activation energy without becoming altered during the reaction. That is why the reactions proceed toward equilibrium more rapidly than the uncatalyzed reactions. Enzymes are highly specific in their action on substrates and they may catalyze only one or a set of specific reactions. Many enzymes have various applications in different areas of our live such as medicine, pharmacy, food processing, cosmetics and detergents production; textile industries as well as they are used for scientific and analytical purposes. Significance and application of enzymes in agriculture, mainly those occurring in soil and used as a feed additives, is also prevalent and have been successively increased for many years. Enzymes in soil play a significant role in soil organic matter transformation and nutrient cycling. Understanding the presence and activity of enzymes in soil may have important implications on ecosystem disturbances and can help to understand the transformation of organic matter and nutrients in sustainable soil management and sustaining agricultural productivity. This chapter presents a brief overview of earlier and recent findings dealing with soil enzymes considered most important in agricultural. As shown in the reviewed literature, interest in the enzymatic activity in soil is currently still high. Among the biological features, soil enzymes are often used in agronomy as reliable indicators of soil health, fertility and productivity as affected by differentiated natural and anthropogenic factors since they are more sensitive to any changes than other soil variables. Additionally, a sub-topic is devoted to application of enzymes in animal farms as feed additives. The major enzyme categories used for commercial manufacturing of feed enzymes, such as carbohydrase, phytase, proteases and amylases have been characterized and benefits of enzymes application have been shown.


Enzymatic activity Soil fertility Agricultural output Feed enzymes 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Piotrowska-Długosz
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Soil Science and Biochemistry, Department of Biogeochemistry and Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture and BiotechnologyUTP University of Science and TechnologyBydgoszczPoland

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