Factors That Affect Enzyme Activity

2613 Words Oct 14th, 2016 11 Pages
The function of an enzyme is to speed up the rate of a chemical reaction by lowering the activation energy required to begin the reaction. Due to an enzyme 's ability to lower activation energy and speed up chemical reactions, they are often referred to as biological catalysts. Enzymes are large, protein molecules that are folded in such a way that only specific molecules, called substrates, can bind to them. The substrates bind to the enzyme at the active site, where the chemical reaction is catalyzed. Enzymes have an induced fit model, which means that after the substrate binds to enzyme at the active site, the enzyme will change its shape to accommodate the substrate. However, when the shape of the enzyme is changed before the substrate is within it, the active site will change shape and the enzyme activity could be inhibited (CollegeBoard 2014).
Every enzyme has optimal environmental conditions that it reacts best under. The primary factors that affect enzyme activity are temperature, pH, concentration of substrate, and inhibitors. As temperature rises, the molecules in an enzyme begin moving faster, thereby increasing the chances of a collision of molecules and speeding up the rate of a reaction. However, once the enzyme hits a certain temperature, the enzyme cannot function in the heat and starts to denature. Each enzyme also has an optimal pH that it reacts best in. If in the reaction the pH strays too much from the optimal pH, the enzyme will denature and stop…
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