Enzymes are important to living organisms because they are proteins that speed up chemical reactions. They are also involved in almost all the metabolic processes like food digestion, synthesis of molecules, and storage and release of energy. Enzymes are an activation energy, or catalyst, they basically jump start and speed up chemical reactions. An enzyme takes in a substrate to the active site (the spot where the substrate is broken down) and breaks the substrate into two smaller substrates. When the substrate in on the active site, that is called an enzyme-substrate complex. An enzyme can get denatured after too much use. Because it has been used so much in a living organism, the enzyme gets old and stops functioning like it used too. Different factors can affect how an enzyme functions. Temperature is one of them. Enzymes like to function at body temp of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That is when they perform most efficiently. If the temperature is slower, they get slow and cannot break up the substrates as fast or efficiently. The amount of enzymes will affect the reactions because if there are more enzymes working to break down the substrates, the process will go faster, but if there are not as many, then the process will be slower. Last, the more substrates there are the slower the reactions will be because there is more for the enzymes to break down and that causes them to take longer to finish. An exothermic reaction is when energy is given off by the system, while an endothermic reaction is when energy is absorbed by the system.
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