Enzymes are proteins that function as biological catalysts (Perry, Morton 2007). They maintain the body’s stable internal balance, and without them life would be impossible (Sullivan, 2013). Enzymes are capable of speeding up reactions that otherwise would happen at a slower rate. Even though we have hundreds of different enzymes in our cells, each enzyme is specific for one particular reaction that occurs in the cell (Fuentes, 2011).
A catalyst is responsible for lowering the amount of energy needed for a chemical reaction to occur. The activation energy is then lowered enough to the affect called a molehill. In an enzyme-catalyzed reaction the substrate, which is the substance being reacted upon, is the reactant (Perry, Morton 2007). The substrate only fits in a specific active site, and is later broken down by the enzyme (Lab Report). Enzyme molecules and substrate molecules merge together to form an enzyme-substrate complex, however this is only temporary.
Once the molecules are bound the enzyme-substrate complex changes shape slightly. This allows the chemical reaction to process faster. The molecule is then released unchanged and is capable of catalyzing the same reaction over and over (Perry, Morton 2007). Catalase is a specific enzyme that is found in many animal and plant tissues (Sullivan, 2013). It is used to speed up reactions that break down hydrogen peroxide. For example, the enzyme is catalase and the substrate is hydrogen peroxide (Lab Report).
Hydrogen peroxide is a byproduct of numerous cellular reactions that happen in our body, however this byproduct is very toxic to our cells. When catalase breaks down hydrogen peroxide it is converted into two harmless substances, water and oxygen (Fuentes, 2011). The purpose of this study is to test certain factors, and how they affect the rate of the reaction that it catalyzes. The test factors include: substrate concentration, pH, and temperature.