In vitro tissue-digesting properties of krill enzymes compared with Fibrinolysin/DNAse, papain and placebo

J. R. Mekkes*, I. C. Le Poole, P. K. Das, A. Kammeyer, W. Westerhof

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Wound debridement, tile removal of necrotic tissue, can be achieved with proteolytic enzymes. Recently, a new multi-enzyme preparation, krill enzyme, isolated from Antarctic shrimp-like organisms (Euphausia superba), was reported to possess powerful proteolytic activity towards protein substrates. In this paper, we study the in vitro digestive properties of krill enzymes towards whole tissue, compared with placebo, papain, and fibrinolysin/DNAse. Freshly obtained skin specimens were exposed for 3 days to krill enzymes (3; 0.6 and 0.06 U/ml), papain (120; 60; 6 and 0.6 U/ml), fibrinolysin/DNAse (2.5/1500 E and 1/600 E), and phosphate-buffered saline control solution. Tissue digestion was estimated by measuring wet wt, dry wt, and histological examination. After 72 hr of exposure to 3 U/ml krill enzymes, the dry wt of the specimens was reduced to 2.7% ± 1.9 (SEM, n = 5), compared with 31.0% ± 2.7 for placebo, 25.7% ± 2.5 for 120 U/ml papain, and 24.5% ± 3.3 for 2.5/1500 E/ml fibrinolysin/DNAse. The differences between krill enzymes and fibrinolysin/DNAse, papain, and control solution were statistically significant (p < 0.007). These data suggest that krill enzymes are more active than other commonly available proteolytic agents used for wound debridement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-706
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1997


  • Elase
  • Fibrinolysin/DNAse
  • Krill enzymes
  • Papain
  • Wound debridement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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