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Enzymes Boardworks


Academic year: 2020

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What’s the missing link?

What is the link between digestion, photosynthesis, respiration and DNA replication?


What are enzymes?

Enzymes are biological catalysts – they speed up the chemical reactions that take place inside all cells, but without being used up in the process.

There are many thousands of different types of enzyme, and each one catalyzes a different reaction.

Cells create enzymes based on instructions


What are enzymes made of?

Enzymes are protein molecules, and so are made up of amino acids. Most enzymes contain between 100 and 1,000 amino acids.

These amino acids are joined together in a long chain, which is folded to produce a unique 3D structure.


Fussy enzymes?


Why are enzymes so specific?

Enzymes are very specific about which reactions they catalyze. Only molecules with exactly the right shape will bind to the enzyme and react. These are the reactant, or substrate, molecules.

The part of the enzyme to which the reactant binds is called the active site.


What happens at the active site?

In the same way that a key fits into a lock, so a substrate is thought to fit into an enzyme’s active site. The enzyme is the lock, and the reactant is the key.




enzyme–reactant complex

products enzyme



Why do enzymes speed up reactions?

Enzymes speed up reactions by lowering the activation energy (Ea) of a reaction. The activation energy is the energy needed to start a reaction.

Different reactions have different activation energies.

en er g y (k J)

Ea with enzyme


Factors affecting enzymes

The rate of enzyme-catalyzed reactions depends on several factors. What are some of these?

All enzymes work best at only one particular temperature and pH: this is called the optimum.

Factors that affect the rate of a reaction include:

 substrate concentration

 temperature

Different enzymes have different optimum temperatures and pH values.

 pH

 enzyme concentration

 surface area


Factors affecting enzymes

If the temperature and pH changes sufficiently beyond an enzyme’s optimum, the shape of the enzyme

irreversibly changes.



This affects the shape of the active site and means that the enzyme will no longer work.


Temperature and reaction rate

As the temperature increases, there are more collisions between enzymes and reactants. This increases the rate of reaction.

At a certain point, the temperature gets too high and the enzymes are denatured. The enzymes can no longer bind with reactants.

We can work out the Q10 for any reaction over a 10°C interval with the following formula:






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