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Posted Fri Aug 27 2010: from ScienceDaily:
Artificial Enzyme Removes Natural Poison
For the first time ever, a completely artificial chemical enzyme has been successfully used to neutralise a toxin found naturally in fruits and vegetables. Chemzymes are designed molecules emulating the targeting and efficiency of naturally occurring enzymes and the recently graduated Dr. Bjerre is pleased about her results. "Showing that these molecules are capable of decomposing toxins ... proves the general point that it's possible to design artificial enzymes for this class of task," explains Bjerre.... But where natural enzymes are big and complex, the artificial ones have been pared down to the basics. One consequence of this simplicity is that designing chemzymes for targeted tasks ought to be easier. With fewer parts, there's less to go wrong when changing the structure of chemzymes.... Manmade enzymes take on heat and solvents without batting a molecular eyelid. One of the consequences of this is that chemzymes can be mass-produced using industrial chemical processes. This is a huge advantage when you need a lot of product in a hurry.
[Read more stories about: technological innovation, bioremediation, unintended consequences]

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'Doc Michael says:
Should I be thrilled, or terrified?
"Chemzymes" might be designed for digesting oil spills, or plastic, I suppose -- but if they're really hard to kill, might they become like microscopic kudzu, propagating uncontrolled in a target-rich environment?

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