Pineapple Juice Proteolytic Enzyme Bromelain
The protease enzyme Bromelain occurs naturally within pineapple, and it is often extracted or harvested for many different uses. The enzyme contains trace protease inhibitors that include calcium, acid phosphatase, and peroxidase. The extract form of Bromelain is a combination of sulfur based enzymes that rapidly break down protein particles by digesting them. Due to it's protein dismantling properties, Bromelain is the perfect meat tenderizer by way of raw unpasteurized pineapple juice, and it's also used outside of the culinary world in medicine. To be effective or active, Bromelain must exist in a temperature of between forty and sixty degrees Celsius, with an optimal temperature of between fifty and sixty degrees Celsius. Temperatures over sixty five degrees Celsius will automatically deactivate the enzyme.
With regard to Bromelain's history, it should be noted that it was first discovered in 1891 by a Venezuelan chemist named Vicente Marcano. He isolated the enzyme by simply dissecting a pineapple fruit, as they were often grown in Venezuela during this time, as they still are today. Although Marcano was able to isolate the enzyme, it wasn't until 1892 that he was able to fully investigate Bromelain with the help of two of his most trusted assistants. Once the trio were convinced of what they had discovered, they named the enzyme Bromelain, a derivative of the pineapple plant family name of Bromeliaceae. Over the next 50 years, research into Bromelain would continue and eventually lead to it being used as a health supplement in 1957. Today in modern Germany, Bromelain is one of the most often used herbal remedies in the country.
With the exception of papain, bromelain today is one of the most often used meat tenderizers. As a tenderizer, the enzyme comes in a variety of forms, such as a pure powdered form, a pure liquid extract form, and a diluted form as contained in the natural juices of a ripe pineapple. Bromelain is so successful at breaking down meat proteins, that you cannot leave pure powdered or extract forms of it in contact with meat for too long, or it will cause the meat to become too soft and over tender. If you have ever eaten large amounts of fresh pineapple or consumed a lot of pineapple juice, you will notice that your tongue, the inside of your mouth, and even your throat can feel a little tender. The reason why this occurs is because the Bromelain in the fruit will literally start to break down proteins in your body wherever it comes into contact with them. This process isn't unhealthy in small quantities obviously.
Bromelain as we mentioned earlier has a long history of being used in medicine. It was first used in 1957 to treat general forms of inflammation, as it will block metabolites that induce swelling. In the contemporary medical world, it has been used successfully to treat arthritis, sports injuries, sinusitis, as well as digestive problems. Current research is also being done on Bromelain's ability to treat HIV, as early medical trials have shown great promise in the area. Despite all of Bromelain's uses, today is really just the beginning of it's long path forward, as there are likely many more health applications it can be used in, with research advancing a better understanding of the enzyme each day. Before using Bromelain as a health supplement, it is always wise to consult with a doctor first, just to be on the safe side of things.