What are Enzymes?

Enzymes are biological catalysts that increase the rates of chemical reactions. Enzymes lower the activation energy (the energy required to begin the chemical reaction) of a chemical reaction, resulting in the formation of products at a faster rate. Only small amounts of enzymes are needed because enzymes are not actually used up in a reaction; enzymes are considered 'recyclable' because they can be used over and over again for different reactions. The name of the enzyme is determined by the substrate the enzyme attaches itself to or the function of the enzyme. 

Enzymes are substrate specific, meaning that the enzyme and the substrate (the molecule that enzymes act upon) works like a lock and  key. Enzymes bind only to specific substances at the active site.  

(citation 1) (citation 29)


 Lock and Key Complex  (image 1)

  An Enzyme/Substrate Complex in the Human Body (image 20) 

 How Do we Find Them? 

 Enzymes belong to the macromolecule group of proteins; amino acids are the building blocks of enzymes. Manufactured enzyme products are produced in large fermentation tanks. In order for enzymes to be sold commercially, the enzyme must be extracted from cells found in nature or engineered cells.  

 (citation 29) 

 Industrial, environmental and food biotechnology utilize enzymes at some stage or the other. Enzymology, the study of enzymes, is one of the longest established areas of biochemical sciences, and still remains an area of active research. The uses of industrial enzyme apply in various places; a few of them being in the food industry, as well as the cosmetic, textiles, and cleaning industry. Scientists hope to discover even more enzymes used in nature, and how these natural processes can benefit our daily lives. 


Contact Information

Namra Tanveer

11th grade

Sheldon High School

Email: tnamra@gmail.com

Teacher: Mrs. Ziegenhirt

Click on the video below for an introduction to the world of industrial enzymes. 


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