Enzymes are incredibly important in our lives. In fact every living thing contains enzymes. From a tiny bacteria to and elephant to a plant. We all have enzymes.
Without them, life as we know it, would not exist.
Here we will talk about
What an enzyme is, structure of an enzyme, How an enzyme works, How can we alter enzymes (denaturing) and how to plot and read an enzyme graph.
The first thing we need to talk about is, what exactly is an enzyme?
Quite simply an enzyme is a protein, which speeds up chemical reactions. This means they are Biological catalysts. They are also Re-usable.
The video to the right shows a piece of liver being re-used with a new batch of hydrogen peroxide. Notice how the reaction repeats.
What do I mean by ‘speeds up a reaction’.
Reactions occur when molecules bump into each other with enough force to join, or have enough energy to break apart. To get to these levels of energy, we would need to input a huge amount of heat.
Enzymes decrease the amount of energy required (activation energy) and puts the molecules together or breaks them apart.
To put into perspective how fast these guys are. 40,000,000 hydrogen peroxide molecules, can be broken down into water and oxygen by Catalase (an enzyme) in under 3 seconds! If we leave hydrogen peroxide, it will eventually break down, however it would take hundreds of years.