|Papain is in the dried latex obtained from the papaya fruit (Carica papaya L). The papaya, also known as mamao, tree melon, or pawpaw, is the fruit of the tree Carica papaya. Carica papaya is a small unbranched tree, the single stem growing to 5-10 m tall, with the spirally arranged leaves confined to the top of the trunk; the lower trunk is conspicuously scarred with the leaf scars of
where older leaves and fruit were borne. The leaves are large, 50-70 cm diameter, deeply palmately lobed with 7 lobes. The flowers are produced in the axils of the leaves, maturing into the large 15-45 cm long, 10-30 cm diameter fruit. The fruit is ripe when it feels soft (like a ripe avocado or a bit softer) and its skin has attained an amber to orange hue. The papaya has an orange color when ripe, and it's bland flavor resembles that of a summer squash, making it a nice complement to the shaper flavors of other fruits. Green papaya is often used as an ingredient in chutney or relishes and makes a nice main dish when stuffed. Papain is obtained by cutting the skin of the unripe but almost mature papaya and then collecting and drying the latex which flows from the cuts.
Papain is proteolytic, which means that it digests proteins. Papain hydrolyzes proteins to form oligopeptides and amino acids. Papain has milk-clotting (rennet) and protein digesting properties and is active over a wide pH range, papain is useful in medicine, combatting dyspepsia and other digestive orders. Papain also contains the proteolytic enzyme chymopapain which differs from papain in electrophoretic mobility, solubility and substrate specificity. Papain hydrolyzes proteins and has a proteolytic capacity (digests proteins). Papain has the ability to digest dead tissue without affecting the surrounding live tissue. On the skin, it dissolves dead skin cells as it softens and brightens. Papain breaks down proteins is used to remove dead tissue from burns, to help skin injuries heal, to remove warts, and to treat ringworm. Papain contains 212 amino acids and is also rich in malic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid. Papain has putative anti-inflammatory activity. The activity of papain is expressed in papain units or PU.
Papain has a wealth of industrial uses. Papain is used in the pharmaceutical industry, in medicine as well as in the food processing industry. Papain is used in digestive aids and as the active ingredient in enzyme cleaners for soft contact lenses. Papain is included in prescription combinations of digestive enzymes to replace what individuals with cystic fibrosis or pancreas conditions cannot produce naturally. Papain is employed to assist protein digestion in chronic dyspepsia, gastric fermentation, and gastritis. Its activity is exerted both in the stomach and intestines. Cosmetically it is used in some dentifrices, shampoos, and face-lifting preparations. It is used to clean silks and wools before dying, and to remove hair from hides during tanning. Papain is a proteolytic enzyme that tenderises meat and can act as a clarifying agent in many food industry processes. It is a common ingridient in brewery and meat processing. Papain is also used in the tanning of leather and has applications in the paper and adhesive industries as well as in sewage disposal.