Factors that can Affect Enzyme Activity

Factors that can Affect Enzyme Activity

Temperature and Enzyme Activity

  • Increasing temperature typically increases enzyme activity. This occurs because higher temperatures cause molecules to move faster, enhancing the chances of substrate coming into contact with the enzyme’s active site.
  • However, if the temperature gets too high, the enzyme can denature, altering its shape and rendering its active site ineffective. The temperature at which this occurs is called the enzyme’s optimum temperature.

pH and Enzyme Activity

  • Enzymes are also sensitive to pH and have an optimum pH where they function best. Changes in pH can result in changes to the enzyme’s shape and, thus, its efficiency.
  • A pH level that is too high or too low can cause denaturing, where the enzyme’s shape changes and it can no longer function.

Enzyme Concentration and Activity

  • As enzyme concentration increases, the rate of reaction increases because there are more active sites available for substrates. However, this is only true up to a certain point, after which adding more enzymes won’t further increase the reaction rate.
  • This point is reached when all the substrate molecules are already connected with enzyme molecules, which is called enzyme saturation.

Substrate Concentration and Activity

  • Increasing substrate concentration generally increases the rate of reaction because more substrate molecules can collide with active sites. However, this only applies up to a point - once all enzyme active sites are engaged, the rate of reaction reaches a plateau.

Inhibitors and Enzyme Activity

  • Inhibitors are chemicals that reduce or stop enzyme activity. They achieve this by binding to enzymes and altering their shape, preventing them from binding with their substrates.
  • There are two types of inhibitors: competitive inhibitors, which compete with the substrate for the same active site, and non-competitive inhibitors, which bind to the enzyme at a site other than the active site, causing the enzyme to change shape so it can no longer bind to the substrate.

Remember, the subject of enzymes and how they are affected by different factors inherently revolves around environmental conditions and intermolecular interactions. Conditions that radically alter the enzyme’s environment or its bonding with other molecules can lead to denaturation, which stops the enzyme from functioning.