Enzymes are catalysts for biochemical reactions in living organisms. There are over 4000 known reactions that are mediated by enzymes.
Catalysts speed up chemical reactions, and enzymes are biological catalysts that speed up the biochemical reactions in all living things. These proteins are vital for the body's day-to-day functioning, without which we would not be able to survive.
Enzymes are biological polymers that perform the function of catalyzing chemical reactions in living things. Most enzymes produced by the body are proteins that assist in the various metabolic processes and other reactions in the cells.
There are more than 4000 different chemical reactions in organisms that are known to be catalyzed by enzymes. Without their presence, the chemical reactions will not proceed at a necessary rate for the sustenance of life.
Most chemical reactions needed to sustain life would not occur under the normal conditions inside cells. The body temperature of almost all living organisms is not high enough to initiate the reaction. Reactants in the body can also be in such low quantities that they are most likely to not meet for a chemical reaction. This is where functional enzymes come into the picture to get things going.
As catalysts, enzymes do not act as reactants but only to accelerate or initiate chemical reactions. While they can also be used repeatedly, enzymes are produced for highly specific reactions and only when the need arises. Since they are so efficient at speeding up the reaction, they could accelerate what might otherwise take days to a matter of seconds.
Enzymes function by modifying the variables in a reaction such as activation energy: increasing the concentration of reactants and offering a substrate for reactions to occur. Activation energy is the energy required to start a chemical reaction. The diagram below shows the extra energy needed by reactants to start a reaction with and without enzymes.
The activation energy of a reaction can be lowered by:
By having the reactants bound to the enzyme, the need for the reactants to be positioned correctly to start the reaction is also lower. This would overcome the intermolecular forces that would otherwise push the reactants apart. Enzymes also work by offering a pathway that needs the lowest activation energy.
Depending on what is the function of enzymes in biological systems, the enzyme activity can vary based on the following factors:
The increased temperature speeds up the reaction rate until some point. Beyond the limit, higher temperatures would denature the enzyme and stop its functionality.
pH level or acidity has an effect on the enzyme as a highly acidic environment tends to slow down or even stop reactions.
A higher enzyme concentration means the reactants will have more substrate for chemical reaction, therefore the reaction rate will be higher.
Inhibitors are substances that slow down or stop the functioning of the enzyme. They do that by blocking the binding sites or changing the enzyme's shape, rendering it ineffective.
Here are the enzymes in the human body responsible for a range of reactions: - Hydrolases: These enzymes work in the presence of water to break chemical bonds. There are more than 200 types of hydrolases.
- Oxidoreductases: These enzymes are needed to catalyze oxidation and reduction reactions.
- Transferases: These enzymes mediate the transfer of functional groups in the reactants.
- Isomerases: These enzymes cause structural changes in the molecules needed for reactions.
- Ligases: These enzymes help in the repair of DNA breaks.
- Lyases: These are also called synthase enzymes.
Enzymes find use in many different industries such as: Food processing industries and manufacturing processes Pharmaceutical industries in the production of drugs Recycling of paper and other organic waste Chemical industries in the production of household products, textile, beverages, and cleaning products
1. What are the 5 main digestive enzymes?
Here are the five digestive enzyme examples:
2. What are the six types of enzymes?
The 6 types of functional enzymes are:
3. What are the four functions of enzymes?
Enzymes are involved in functions such as:
4. What are the five properties of enzymes?
5. What are the three features of an enzyme?
6. Are enzymes water soluble?
Yes, some enzymes can also act as water-soluble catalysts.
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