Chemistry of Enzymes



Original name of enzymes is ferments. Enzymes are biomolecules, biocatalysts, complex proteins that drives thousands of metabolic processes in living things. Without enzymes there is no respiration process, digestion processes in animals and no photosynthesis process in plants. Overall enzymes can able to catalyze 4000 biochemical reactions. Enzymes are biocatalysts. Enzymes without being consumed in the process can speed up chemical processes or slow down the chemical processes. After the reaction is complete, the enzyme is released from the chemical process which can start another reaction.

They are present in all living cells, where they perform a vital function by controlling the metabolic processes. Moreover, enzymes take part in the breakdown of food materials into simpler compounds. Enzymes like pepsin, trypsin and peptidases break down proteins into amino acids, lipases split fats into glycerol and fatty acids, and amylases break down starch into simple sugars.

Enzymes production

Enzyme Production

Enzyme Production

Enzymes are generally extracted from various sources like plants, animals, bacteria, fungi, and animal organs. The enzymes of animal and plant origin are produced through the disruption of tissues, organs, leaves and fruits. Then enzymes will be extracted with water or organic solvent. In same way microbial enzymes are attained through the process of fermentation.



Examples for enzymes


  1. Chimosin
  2. Pepsin
  3. Trypsin
  4. Pancreatin
  5. Ficin
  6. Papain
  7. Bromelain
  8. Pactinases
  9. Glucoamylase
  10. Amylase
  11. Protease
  12. Alpha-amylase

Thousands of different enzymes are needed to keep the human body functioning normally, each usually acting on only one kind of substrate, and catalyzing only one kind of reaction. Enzymes are classified according to the type of reaction they catalyze and the type of substrates on which they act.

Most metabolic processes involve a series of many different chemical changes. In digestion, for example, separate chemical reactions take place in the mouth, stomach, and intestine. Certain enzymes break down the protein, carbohydrate, and fat molecules of food into smaller molecules. Other enzymes assist in passing these smaller molecules into the bloodstream.

History & Discovery of enzymes




In 1833 Payen and Persoz isolated enzyme complex from malt

In 1874 Christian Hansen extracted dried calves’ stomachs with saline solution

In 1876 William Kuhne coined the term ‘enzyme’

In 1897 Eduard Buchner studied about zymase action

In 1926 James B. Sumner explained function of urease

In 1930 Northrop and Stanley worked on pepsin enzyme


Structure of enzymes

enzyme structure

enzyme structure

Enzymes are in general globular proteins and range from just 62 amino acid residues in size and all these amino acids linked together. The amino acids within each kind of enzyme have a characteristic arrangement. The bonds between the different amino acids in the chains are weak and may be broken by such conditions as high temperatures or high levels of acids. When the bonds are broken, the enzymes become nonfunctional and disease sometimes occurs.




Enzyme Commission number/system

For the classification of enzymes one particular method is following by the people i.e., Enzyme Commission System.

The Enzyme Commission number (EC number) is a numerical classification scheme for enzymes, based on the chemical reactions they catalyze.

EC 1 – Oxidoreductases, catalyzes both oxidation reactions and reduction reactions

EC 2 – Transferases, catalyzes transferring of groups

EC 3 – Hydrolases, catalyzes hydrolytic cleavage of different bonds

EC 4 – Lyases, catalyzes cleavage of bonds

EC 5 – Isomerases – catalyzes geometric or structural changes within molecule

EC 6 – Ligases – catalyzing the joining of two molecules


Applications of enzymes

Enzyme example

Enzyme example

Enzymes for textile industry, enzymes used for textile industry for the purpose of desizing, bio-polishing, denim finishing, bleach clean-up, bio-scouring and de-wooling

Enzymes for leather industry – enzymes used for leather industry for the purpose of bating, un-haring, degreasing and soaking in the beam-house processes

Enzymes for food industry – enzymes used for food industry for the purpose of food baking and brewing of alcohols

Enzymes for detergent industry – enzymes used for detergent industry for the purpose of removing protein stains, fatty stains

Enzymes for biofuel industry

Enzymes for rubber industry

Enzymes for photographic industry



One thought on “Chemistry of Enzymes

  1. Pingback: world of chemicals | Chemistry of Enzymes

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