Enzymes are biological catalysts - protein molecules that speed up chemical reactions. They catalyse chemical reactions in living cells such as:
The shape of an enzyme determines how it works. Enzymes have active sites that substrate molecules (the substances involved in the chemiclal reaction) fit into when a reaction happens.
The active site has to be the right shape for the substrate molecules to fit into. This means that enzymes have a high specificity for their substrate - a particular type of enzyme will only work with one or a smaller number of substrates.
The mechanism involved is called the 'lock and key' mechanism. Just as a lock will only accept one key, an enzyme will only accept one substrate.
Enzymes and temperature
At low temperatures, enzyme reactions are slow. They speed up as…