Why do enzymes speed up reactions?
Enzymes are made up of proteins, which have the ability to change the rate of any chemical reaction. The change in rate is primarily due to the presence of a catalyst or the agent, which has the capability of initiating changes. In almost all kinds of processes and procedures involved in the biological cell cycle, enzymes are needed for reactions to take place at certain rates that will yield the desired results or outcomes. This indicates that enzymes act on certain metabolic pathways for it to effectively function and in the specified cell type.
As enzymes participate in the process of catalysis, there are various substances that serve as catalysts, which belong to specific categories. There are catalysts which speed up reactions. These types are also known as positive catalysts. There are also catalysts which act as inhibitors, thereby labeled as negative inhibitors. There are also substances which increase the activity of catalysts called promoters, and substances that deactivate catalysts called catalytic poisons. Of these four types, the most commonly known action of enzymes is its ability to speed up reactions. Enzymes have the ability to speed up reactions mainly because it has the power to lower the activation energy, which is the energy that must be supplied in order for molecules to react with one another. As this occurs, the rate of reaction dramatically increases. In this light, products are formed faster and reactions reach their equilibrium state more rapidly. As catalysts, enzymes are known to breakdown or synthesize more complex chemical compounds, fast enough to support life.
Despite being present only in small amounts, its ability to cause change in the rate of reaction among chemical compounds is one vital function that significantly supports the sustenance and maintenance of life’s complex processes.