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An enzyme is a protein rich substance that acts as a biological catalyst. Enzymes are found in living orgasms, where they speed up metabolic reactions. Every different metabolic reaction needs a different enzyme to catalyse it. Therefore, a living organism needs thousands of different types of enzymes. The dent is also the perfect size to slip a substrate particle into.

Enzymes have a dent in them, called the active site. The substances which are in the reaction fit exactly in this dent.

The Reaction between an enzyme and a substance

Some different types of enzyme[edit | edit source]

  • Amylase: breaks down starch
  • Maltase: breaks down maltose
  • Catalase: breaks down hydrogen peroxide
  • Lipase: breaks fats into fatty acids and glycerol
  • Pepsin: breaks proteins into smaller polypeptides
  • Trypsin: also breaks down proteins to form polypeptides
  • Protease: breaks smaller polypeptides down into amino acids
  • Pectinase: breaks down pectin
  • Lactase: breaks down lactose

The effect of heat on enzymes[edit | edit source]

If enzymes are heated, the enzyme expands and the active key no longer fits with the substrate. The optiumum heat for an enzyme is 37 celcius, any higher it expands and any lower it becomes less active.

The effect of pH on enzymes[edit | edit source]


Enzymes in industry[edit | edit source]

Food[edit | edit source]

The names of the different types of enzymes usually end in the letters -ase. Three of the most common enzymes with their chemical actions are:

  • lipase - breaks down fats
  • protease - breaks down proteins
  • carbohydrase - breaks down carbohydrates

Enzyme uses[edit | edit source]

Enzymes allow certain industrial processes to be carried out at normal temperatures and pressures, thereby reducing the amount of energy and expensive equipment needed. Enzymes are also used in the home, for example, in 'biological' detergents. The table shows some common enzyme uses you should be familiar with.

sources: bbc bitesize. copyright.

Enzymes in seed germination.[edit | edit source]

Seeds contain an embryo plant, and a food supply. When the seed starts to germinate, amylase is secreted inside the seed. This then breaks down the starch of the seed into maltose which is can then be absorbed by the growing embryo plant.

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