Change is an important part of every living organism. Enzymes are substances that work hard to help cause and speed up biochemical reactions. They exist in every living cell, and they do the work that needs to be done by building up or breaking down other molecules.
● Enzymes are proteins and are made of strings of amino acids.
● Enzymes are an essential part of digestion, breaking down our food so our bodies can use it.
● Enzymes are referred to as catalysts, because they increase the rate of reaction without being consumed.
● Enzymes work hard and cause changes in other molecules, but they don’t get used up. They can keep working.
● There are many different types of enzymes. They are specific to the work they do, and can only react with the substance they were made for. The substance on which each acts is called the substrate.
● Many vitamins help enzymes do the work in our bodies for things like growth ability and vision.
● Some non-living things contain enzymes. For example, laundry detergents contain enzymes that break down fats and oils.
● Our saliva contains an enzyme called amylase that helps break down our food as we chew.
● Enzymes help plants grow by breaking down the nutrients in the soil into molecules that are small enough for the plant to absorb. They also cause the chemical reactions involved in photosynthesis.
Cell: The smallest unit with the basic properties for life. Every living thing is made up of cells.
Biochemical Reaction: The change of one molecule to a different molecule inside a cell.
Photosynthesis: The process by which green plants use sunlight to get food from carbon dioxide and water.
Questions and Answers
Question: How much do enzymes speed up the work done inside of cells?
Answer: Enzymes can make chemical reactions happen millions of times faster than they would happen without the enzymes.
Watch a video to learn more about enzymes.