The enzymes They are organic molecules that act as catalysts, that is, they accelerate chemical reactions without being consumed or becoming part of the products of that reaction. They are usually proteins, although there is also RNA (ribonucleic acid), which has catalytic activity. Almost all reactions that occur in the body are mediated by enzymes, so it is clear that these molecules have a wide variety of functions in living organisms. For example: trypsin, lactase, gastrin.
Between the enzyme functions, is that of favoring the digestion and absorption of nutrients from the food that is ingested: digestive enzymes break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats into substances that can be assimilated by living organisms.
In this sense, it is said that enzymes are very useful in cases of abdominal swelling, gas and digestion in general very heavy. They also produce the inhibition of inflammatory processes and favor the recovery of blows, as well as help to remove toxins and harmonize the immune system.
Conditions for enzyme activity
The enzymatic activity, however, it is performed with different efficacy depending on certain conditions that may exist in the body, or in the place where the enzymatic reaction occurs. For example, a higher concentration of the substrate or a higher concentration of the enzyme increases the speed with which the enzymatic reaction occurs, although up to a certain limit.
On the other hand, it has been studied that a temperature increase of 10 °C doubles the speed of a chemical reaction, but in the case of a reaction catalyzed by an enzyme, the temperature increase cannot exceed a certain limit, since the enzymes lose its catalytic activity at very high temperatures. Furthermore, the optimum pH for enzyme activity is 7 (except for digestive enzymes, which are located in the acidic context of the stomach).
In the rate of an enzyme reaction the participation of cofactors also influences. There are enzymes that to exert their catalytic action must be bound in some way to certain metal ions or organic groups, called cofactors.
Classification of enzymes
Enzymes are generally classified according to the point reaction they catalyze. In this sense they can be:
- Hydrolases. They catalyze hydrolysis reactions. For example: the lactase.
- isomerase. They catalyze reactions in which one isomer is transformed into another. For example: phosphotriose isomerase.
- Ligases. They catalyze reactions of union or degradation of substrates. For example: pyruvate carboxylase.
- Lyases. They catalyze substrate breakdown reactions in which water (HtwoO), carbon dioxide (COtwo) or ammonia (NH3) to form double bonds or add groups to them. For example: the acetate decarboxylase.
- Oxidoreductases. They catalyze oxidation-reduction reactions, that is, electron transfer between substrates. For example: succinate dehydrogenase.
- Transferases. They catalyze the transfer of an active chemical group from one substrate to another. For example: the glucokinase.
Enzymes in industrial processes
There are many industrial processes that are tied to the normal functioning of enzymes. Alcoholic fermentation, other products destined for consumption and many reactions that intervene in worlds such as construction depend on them.
Enzymes are sometimes used with medical purposes. They are used, for example, in the treatment of areas of local inflammation.
Examples of enzymes and their functions
- trypsin. Breaks peptide bonds adjacent to arginine or lysine.
- lactase. Used in the dairy industry, it prevents the crystallization of concentrated milk.
- Gastrin. Produces and secretes hydrochloric acid, stimulates gastric mobility.
- Dipeptidase. It catalyzes hydrolysis reactions of certain dipeptides.
- chymosin. Coagulates milk proteins, in the cheese industry.
- lipase. In the body it catalyzes reactions related to separating fats from food so that they can be better absorbed.
- Secretin. It secretes water and sodium bicarbonate, in addition to inhibiting gastric motility.
- Glucose isomerases. Allows the use of high fructose syrups in the production of sweet foods.
- Papain. In the brewery, it is used to liquefy malt paste.
- Sucrase. Converts sucrose to fructose and glucose.
- fiscina. Important in tenderizing meats.
- Carboxypeptidase. Separates the carboxyl terminal amino acids.
- bromelain. It intervenes in the production of hydrolysates.
- Deoxyribonuclease. Involved in the synthesis and hydrolysis of nucleic acids.
- Amylases. They are involved in the hydrolysis of glycogen and starch to form glucose units.
- Lipoxidase. In the bread industry, it improves its quality and produces a very white crumb.
- Pepsin. Produces peptides and amino acids in the stomach, reacts in a highly acid medium.
- Ribonuclease. Produces nucleotides, catalyzes the hydrolysis of RNA.
- pectinases. In the beverage industry, it improves the clarification and extraction of juices.
- Tannase. It catalyzes the hydrolysis of ester bonds in certain tannins and in gallic acid esters.
- Ptyalin. It provides monosaccharides and disaccharides, if it acts in a moderately alkaline medium.