Numerous applications of proteolytic enzymes include dissociation of fermented meat products for the enumeration of `foodborne pathogenic bacteria. The use of trypsin for this cause is abandoned due to the high concentration of the enzyme affecting released bacteria. Papain, as a suggested replacement, and fig latex preparation with high extent of papain-like enzymes have the potential to be applied for bacteria enumeration. Both enzymatic preparations, originating from papaya and fig, showed a broader range of substrate specificities including gelatinolytic activity, especially prominent in the case of ficin and attributed to both, cysteine protease ficin and serine protease by the analysis of 2D zymography with specific inhibitors. The activity towards native collagen, mild in the case of papain, and extensive in the case of fig latex was proved by structural analysis of digested collagen by infrared spectroscopy. Further exploration of their potential for dissociation of fermented meat products showed that both papain and fig latex enzymes are stable in the presence of detergents Tween 20 and Triton X-100 and effective in the enumeration of Listeria monocytogenes. Gelatenolytic activity, and at least partial collagenolytic activity and stability in procedure conditions make papaya and fig latex proteases potent for this application in significantly lower concentrations than previously used enzymes. As a mixture of proteolytic enzymes with divergent characteristics, fig latex preparation shows higher efficiency in Listeria monocytogenes release than papain, conserved even in the presence of stronger non-ionic detergent Triton X-100.
Vatić, S., Mirković, N., Milošević, J. R., Jovčić, B., & Polović, N. (2020). Broad range of substrate specificities in papain and fig latex enzymes preparations improve enumeration of Listeria monocytogenes. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 334. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2020.108851