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Home » Biology Homework Help » Biotechnology » Enzymes Vs Catalysts
Enzymes Vs Catalysts
Enzymes are similar to catalysts in the following respects: (i) they lower the activation energy of reaction, (ii) they do not participate in the reaction, and return in their original form at the end of reaction, and (iii) they only increase the reaction rate. But (i) enzymes increase the rate of reaction of a phenomenal scale, and they are (ii) highly specific; these features are unimaginable for nonbiological catalysts. Many enzymes may be less specific in binding to the substrate, but they are always extremely specific in the reaction they catalyze. For example, mammalian cytochrome P 450 binds a variety of substrates but it always adds a –OH group to the substrate. But many enzymes are highly specific in binding as well, e.g. glucose oxidase binds to only to D-glucose. Enzymes can distinguish between similar parts of the substrate molecule (called regiospecificity) and between optical isomers of the substrate (called stereospecificity). In addition, enzymes (iii) are subject to a variety of regulations, and (iv) their reaction rate shows substrate saturation which is not the case with catalysts (nonbiological). Enzymes are attractive because (v) they operate under mild conditions of temperature, pressure and pH, which saves energy, and (vi) undesirable by-products are not produced which simplifies product recovery. (vii) Certain stereochemical reactions are impractical with chemical methods.
 
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