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I know that papain is a proteolytic enzyme present in papaya. It is often used to tenderise meat. What is the function of papain in papaya? Is papain sweet? Does it function as an antibiotic?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Papain is a cysteine protease, for which Wikipedia should be sufficient:

Cysteine proteases play multi-faceted roles, virtually in every aspect of physiology and development in plants such as in growth and development, in senescence and apoptosis (programmed cell death), in accumulation and mobilization of storage proteins such as in seeds. In addition, they are involved in signalling pathways and in the response to biotic and abiotic stresses. In humans they are responsible for apoptosis, MHC class II immune responses, prohormone processing, and extracellular matrix remodeling important to bone development.

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