An enzyme is a molecule that is a biological catalyst for chemical reactions in the body. Most are in the category of proteins, however a few molecules called ribozymes can also catalyze reactions. Enzymes use a specific reactant called substrates to produce products. Without the use of enzymes most of the biological reactions would occur at too slow a pace to sustain the life of a cell and the organism.
Like most chemical reactions, the rate of an enzyme-catalyzed reaction increases as the temperature is raised. Each enzyme has an optimum temperature at which it works best, at higher temperatures enzymatic activity is generally increased. This is due to more substrate-enzymes collisions. If, however, the temperature does rise above its optimum temperature level, even as small as 1 or 2 degrees may cause changes in the structure and shape of the enzyme and can also slow production. If the temperature rises too much, the enzyme will begin to denature and unravel; this is due to hydrogen bonds breaking apart.
A decrease in temperature however can reduce an enzyme's reaction rate by slowing down the molecular vibrations, which decreases the chances of a substrate correctly “locking” into the enzyme. To insure that most enzymes can achieve optimum reaction rates, they have adapted to work within the body’s normal homeostatic temperature range, 37. deg. Celsius to 40. deg. Celsius
Besides temperature another important factor for enzymes is environment surrounding the enzyme. The most favorable pH value - the point where the enzyme is most active - is known as the optimum pH. Extremely high or low pH values generally result in complete loss of activity for most enzymes and can even denature the enzyme entirely. The pH is specific to the enzyme itself unlike temperature most enzymes function at different. Each enzyme has an optimal pH that helps maintain its three-dimensional...