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The Role of Enzymes in Organisms

1. Metabolism:
(a) Anabolism: the metabolic reactions that build complex molecules, for example,
(b) Catabolism: the metabolic reactions that break down complex molecules, for
example digestion

2. Definition of enzyme: Enzyme is organic catalyst, usually a protein which speeds

up biochemical reactions in living cells.

The General Characteristics of Enzymes

1. Enzymes are proteins which are synthesized by living organisms.

2. In enzymatic reactions, enzymes bind to their substrates and convert them to
3. Enzymes speed up the rates of chemical reactions but remain unchanged at the
end of the reactions. Enzymes are not destroyed by the reactions they catalyzed.
4. Enzymes are highly specific.
- Enzymes have specific sites called active sites to bind with specific substrates.
- Each enzyme can usually catalyse only one kind of substrates.
5. Enzymes are needed in small quantities
- Enzymes are not used up at the end of a reaction
- The same enzyme molecule can process a large quantity of substrate molecules

6. Most enzyme-catalysed reactions are reversible.

- Enzyme can catalyse the reaction in either direction.
7. The activity of an enzyme can be slowed down or completely stopped by inhibitors.
- Examples of inhibitors: heavy metal such as lead and mercury
8. Many enzymes require helper molecules, called cofactors, to function
- Inorganic cofactors: ferum and copper
- Organic cofactors / coenzymes: water-soluble vitamins
Naming of Enzymes

1. An enzyme is named according to the name of the substrate it catalysed.

2. Most enzymes have a name derived by adding the suffix ase at the end of the
name of their substrates.

Substrates Enzymes

1. However, there are other enzymes that were named before a systematic way of
naming the enzymes was formed. For example, pepsin, trypsin and rennin

The Sites of Enzyme Synthesis.

1. Ribosome are the sites of enzymes synthesis

2. The information for the synthesis of enzymes is carried by the DNA
3. The different sequences of bases in the DNA are codes to make different proteins
4. During the process, messenger RNA is formed to translate the codes into a
sequence of amino acids. These amino acids are bonded together to form specific
enzymes according to the DNAs codes.

Intracellular and Extracellular Enzymes

1. Intracellular enzymes: Enzymes which are synthesized and retained in the cell for
the use of the cell itself.
Extracellular enzymes: Enzymes which are synthesized in the cell but secreted from
a cell to work externally.
4.5.2 The Mechanism of Enzyme Action

1. The way an enzyme binds to its substrate can be explained by the lock and key
2. The substrate molecule is represented by the key while the enzyme molecule is
represented by the lock

4.5.2 Factors Affecting Enzyme Activity

1. The factors which affect enzyme activity include:

(a) temperature
(b) pH
(c) substrate concentration
(d) enzyme concentration

2. The effects of temperature on the activity of enzyme

(a) At low temperature, an enzyme-catalysed reaction takes places slowly. This is

because the substrate molecules are moving at a relatively slow rate.
(b) An increase in temperature leads to an increase in the rate of enzyme-catalysed
reaction. This is because as the temperature increase, the movement of substrate
molecules increases, thus collisions between the substrate and enzyme molecules
occur more frequent.
(c) For every 100C rise in temperature, the rate of reaction is doubled. However, this is
only true up to the optimum temperature.
(d) The optimum temperature is the temperature at which an enzyme catalysed a
reaction at the maximum rate.(Example: for human and most animals, optimum
temperature for enzyme-catalysed reaction is 370C)
(e) Beyond the optimum temperature, any increase in temperature causes the rate of
reaction to decrease sharply until it stops completely at 60 0C.This is because the
bond that hold enzyme molecules together begin to break at high temperatures, and
eventually destroy their active sites. This means that substrates can no longer fit into
the active sites of the enzymes. The enzymes are said to be denatured at very high
temperature. This is called denaturation.
(f) Denaturation is irreversible, hence, the body needs to maintain its temperature at
370C for the optimal functioning of enzymes.
At low temperature, an enzyme-catalysed reaction takes places slowly
As the surrounding temperature increases, the rate of reaction is increased
until it reaches the optimum temperature.
The rate of reaction is at the maximum at the optimum temperature.
Beyond the optimum temperature, the rate of reaction decreases due to the
denaturation of enzymes.

3. The effects of pH on the activity of enzyme

(a) Each enzyme can only function optimally at a particular pH.

(b) The optimum pH is the pH at which the rate of reaction is at the maximum.
(c) A change in pH can alter the charges on the active sites of an enzyme and the
surface of a substrate. This can reduce the ability of both molecules to bind each
(d) The effects of pH on enzymes are normally reversible. When the pH in the
environment reverts to the optimum level for the enzymes, the ionic charges on the
active sites are restored. Thus, the enzymes resume their normal function.

4. The effects of substrate concentration the activity of enzyme

(a) The rate of enzyme-catalysed reaction increases when the substrate concentration
increases until the reaction reaches maximum rate.
(b) Beyong the maximum rate, the active sites of enzyme molecules are fully occupied
by substrate concentration further has no effect on the rate of reaction. The rate of
reaction becomes constant.
(c) This means there is an excess of substrate molecules.
(d) The concentration of enzymes becomes a limiting factor.

5. The effects of enzyme concentration on the activity of enzyme

(a) The rate of enzyme-catalysed reaction increases when the concentration of the
enzyme increases until a maximum rate is achieved.
(b) Beyong the maximum rate of reaction, the concentration of substrate becomes a
limiting factor.
(c) When the enzyme concentration is doubled, the rate of reaction will be doubled as
long as the substrates are present in excess concentration.
The Uses of Enzyme

Application Enzymes Uses

1. Food
processing Lipase Ripening of cheese
(a) Dairy
Lactase Hydrolyses lactose to glucose and
galactose in the making of ice cream
Renin Solidifies milk proteins
(b) Brewing Zymase Converts sugars into ethanol
(c) Baking Amylase Convert starch flours into sugar in the
making of bread and dough
(d) Meat Protease Tenderise meat
(e) Fish Protease Removes the skin of fish
(f) Starch Amylase Change starch to sugar in the making
of syrup
(g) Cereal Cellulase Breaks down cellulose and removes
grain the seed coat from cereal grain
(h) Seaweed Cellulase Extracts agar from seaweed
2. Biological Protease Acts on stains containing proteins, for
Detergents examples, blood and saliva
Amylase Removes stains containing starch, for
examples sauces, ice cream and
Lipase Removing oil and grease
3. Textile Amylase Removes the starch that is used as
Industry stiffeners of fabric
4. Paper Ligninase Removes lignin from pulp
5. Leather Protease / Trypsin Removes hairs from animal hides
6. Medical /Pancreatic trypsin Treats inflammation

Microbial trypsin Dissolves blood clots