Microbial collagenases: challenges and prospects in production and potential applications in food and nutrition
Microbial collagenases are promising enzymes in view of their extensive industrial and biological applications. The emerging evidence of potential food applications and health benefits have revealed that microbial collagenase shows significant promise as a main component for bioactive functional ingredients and the preparation of peptides. Collagenases are important virulence factors which play a crucial role in the global degradation of the extracellular matrices of animals, due to their collagen degradation ability. There is a lack of scientific consensus on a well-defined and proper screening of collagenase-producing microorganisms. A vast controversy can be found in the literature regarding the correct identification of microbial collagenase. This review summarizes the current technologies and strategies used to improve the screening, production, and purification of microbial collagenase with a comprehensive insight, especially focusing on the classification, structures and collagen-degrading mechanisms of M9 family representative collagenases. It also highlights the potential of microbial collagenase in the development of a process for meat tenderization and bioactive “true” collagen peptides, or the preparation of hydrolysates. In addition, the critical challenges and various strategies for potential applications of collagenase in food, nutrition, biotechnological and medical sectors are highlighted.