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. An enzyme works by lowering the activation energy of a reaction, so if an enzyme is not present, then the energy needed to start the reaction would be higher
Great question, for this let's create a graph to illustrate this concept. What this figure below shows is the following: On the Y axis, you have something called energy for the reaction, while on the x axis shows the reaction progress. See that part of the graph that resembles a camels hump? well that's something called the energy of activation. what this is, is the minimum amount of energy required to get our chemical reaction to occur, to go from reactants to products, otherwise we don't get a reaction to occur. Now, biologically, our bodies love to cheat, and what that means is most reactions don't even need to require the minimum activation energy because there is a way around it. this is what an enzyme does. In chemistry, the enzyme offers an alternative pathway for the reaction, but in biology it's similar, the enzyme lowers the activation energy required to get our reaction to happen. what this results in is you can imagine that if the activation energy is lowered our reaction is going to happen much more quickly. You can see this clearly from the graph below, the dashed line is the catalyzed reaction while the solid line is the un-catalyzed reaction. A catalyst doesn't do anything other than decreasing the activation energy, but you could imagine that there's a forward reaction as well as a reverse one. In-fact the reverse reaction, is also affected too, meaning that the activation enemies for both the forward and reverse reactions reduced, so that the net change is no effect. Because imagine, the equilibrium is not affected by this, so in essence they could ask you an enzyme does this or that, It only does one thing and that is lower the activation energy and increase the rate of your reaction. In our bodies, sometimes there are reactions that are unfavorable, and must be coupled, to result in a much more favorable reaction, that happens spontaneously. |dw:1441741962729:dw| To show you how this works, an enzyme will combine with a substrate to form an enzyme substrate complex, If I remember this correctly, the enzyme will dissociate resulting in our product. What happens here is that the enzyme creates an environment where our substrates can come to gather and react more quickly and efficiently than in the cruel and unpredictable world of the un-catalyzed reaction things depend on probability meaning that without a catalyst, molecules need to be in the proper orientation, and more, which depends on increasing energy (Temperature) to increase the chances of this happening and these substances forming the product. |dw:1441742645475:dw|