Enzyme Activity Essay

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Revised Fall 2011 Enzyme Activity Objectives After completing this exercise you should be able to: 1. Define catalyst, enzyme, active site, substrates, enzyme-substrate complex, products, synthesis, degradation, oxidation/reduction, isomerization, and enzyme specificity. 2. Explain how enzymes work. 3. Describe the experiment using sucrase and interpret the resulting data. 4. Explain the use of Benedict’s solution in demonstrating sucrase activity. 5. Describe how temperature and pH affect sucrase activity. Introduction Enzymes are usually protein molecules that act as biological catalysts. A catalyst greatly increases the speed of a chemical reaction by lowering the activation energy necessary to get the reaction started without itself being altered or consumed. On the surface of the enzyme is an active site that temporarily binds the reactants or substrates forming an enzyme-substrate complex. The catalytic action of the enzyme then converts the substrate to a product or products. This conversion can take the form of a synthesis (building more complex molecules), a decomposition (splitting of the substrate), an oxidation/reduction (addition or removal of electrons), or an isomerization (rearrangement of atoms within a molecule). When the product or products are released, the enzyme emerges unchanged and available to convert more substrate into more products. Since enzymes can be used again and again, they are effective even at low concentrations. Each enzyme is highly specific; that is, it catalyzes only a single chemical reaction or small group of related reactions. An enzyme can distinguish its substrate from even closely related isomers. For example, the enzyme maltase will catalyze the breakdown of the disaccharide maltose into its two glucose subunits. However, the disaccharides sucrose and lactose are unaffected by maltase. The activity of an enzyme is

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