Enzyme.swf / Enzim.swf

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Enzymes are chemicals found in living things that act to speed up specific chemical reactions. Enzymes are catalysts for biochemical (living) reactions. If there is any chemical reaction in any living thing there is an enzyme that works to bring it about.

A simple definition of life would be: the transfer of energy through the breakdown of nutrients. In other words, all living things get their energy for life by breaking down the chemicals in other living things. Sounds simple enough but in point of fact, the activity of getting nutrients and energy from food is maybe the most complex group of chemical reactions in the universe. This is because chemical reactions that occur inside living organisms can't happen without a catalyst that would make these reactions happen and control them.

Catalysts are chemicals that while helping a reaction come about, are not themselves changed. Catalysts, in reactions other than biochemical, generally are common inorganic substances which have uses outside of being catalyst for a reaction. For example, platinum is used as a catalyst the reaction that breaks down nitrogen oxides in car exhaust, yet platinum has many other uses. Most biological catalysts, or enzymes, on the other hand are very specific. They exist and are created with only one purpose, to act as a catalyst for one specific reaction biochemical reaction.

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