Food and Bioprocess Technology

, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp 1066–1088 | Cite as

Native and Biotechnologically Engineered Plant Proteases with Industrial Applications

  • Lucía Feijoo-Siota
  • Tomás G. VillaEmail author
Original Paper


Proteases occupy the most relevant position among industrial enzymes. Plant proteases have been used in medicine, detergent manufacturing, and food science for many years, but their production is diminishing in favor of those of microbial origin because lower production costs. Papain, bromelain, and ficin are the most frequently employed plant proteases, although new proteases with new and more appealing physicochemical properties for industry are still emerging. DNA technology and genetic engineering shall play, without a doubt, an important role for the production of these proteases at the industrial level. The present review focuses on the applications of traditional plant proteases as well as new proteases discovered during the last 20 years, some of which have already been genetically engineered either to increase production or to strengthen some of their physicochemical properties. The review also refers to the protease classification, action pattern, and main characteristics.


Plant proteases Industrial enzymes Protein engineering Genetic engineering Applications 



The authors wish to express their deepest appreciations to Prof. V. Notario from Georgetown University for correcting and styling the English manuscript. They also wish to extend their gratitude to the Xunta de Galicia and the “Ramon Areces Foundation” from Madrid for financial support.


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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Pharmacy and School of BiotechnologyUniversity of Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain

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