Enzymes : Physical properties, Chemical Properties and Uses

Published on 28-Sep-2022


Enzymes are protein-like substances present in very small amounts in almost all living cells. Enzymes participate in various reactions, speeding up the rate of the response. Enzymes remain unchanged even at the end of the reaction. It is said that enzymes largely control the dynamic biochemical state of the living system. Scientist Kuhn (F. H. Kuhne) first used the term enzyme in 1878. Zymase was discovered back in the year 1897.

The famous James Sumner, in the year 1926, isolated the first enzyme called urease from cells and said that "enzymes are proteins." From there, we know that all the enzymes are made of different proteins, but all the proteins are not enzymes.

The famous Edward Buchner identified the substance as an enzyme for sugar fermentation. A protein that accelerates the rate of a reaction by being present in small amounts in the body, but remains accessible and unchanged after the reaction, is called an enzyme. Enzymes are also known as organic catalysts, mainly made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur elements. Certain enzymes contain phosphorus, copper, zinc, iron, manganese, magnesium, and many more.

Some of the physical properties of Enzymes

1. In general, enzymes are mainly proteinaceous.

2. Enzyme is present in the form of colloid in living cells.

3. Its effectiveness is controlled by pH, and most enzymes are active at pH 6 to 9.

4. They are heat sensitive, i.e., generally more active at 35°C - 40°C temperature. High heat destroys enzymes, but low heat does not spoil the enzymes. It just makes it stop working.

5. Enzymes are present in tiny amounts and speed up the rate of reactions.

6. Enzymes only accelerate the rate of reaction, which only increases the speed of a response like a catalyst. It does not change the state of equilibrium of the reaction.

7. Enzyme function is specific, meaning they all have specific functions. 8. Enzymes are produced only by living cells and require water to function.

9. Almost all the enzymes are soluble in water.

10. Exposure to intense light, e.g., ultraviolet rays, destroys enzyme activity.

Some chemical properties of enzymes:

All enzymes are proteins, so the amino acids that makeup proteins are the basic building blocks of enzymes. The amino acid number and sequence of a specific enzyme are specific. The number and sequence of amino acids in different enzymes vary. Enzymes are active in both acidic and alkaline environments and can function in both environments. Enzyme action is accelerated in the presence of co-enzymes, co-factors, etc. Enzymes are generally soluble in water, glycerol, and mild alcohol. It is important to remember that not all proteins are enzymes. The enzyme is degraded by ammonium sulfate, sodium chloride, picric acid, etc.

Uses of Cellulase:

  • Cellulase enzyme is used in coffee processing which people often drink.
  • It is used in paper, pulp, and textile industries for work.
  • An important ingredient in washing powder and laundry detergent. 
  • Cellulase enzyme is used in the production of fruit juices and various beverages.
  • It also has been considered to be applied in the pharmaceutical industry.


The enzyme that breaks down protein into amino acids is called protease. The stored protein in the seed is broken down by protease enzymes during germination and is rapidly transferred to the embryo to produce new proteins as needed. The action of protease enzymes also digests the protein foods we eat. The protease enzymes are - pepsin, trypsin, and papain.

Uses of protease 

  • Protease enzymes are used in various industries, drug manufacturing, and basic research in biology. 
  • This enzyme is also used in the bakery industry to bake food that is then sold and eaten.
  • An enzyme called protease is used to control blood clotting.


The main component of starch is amylose. Some starches are made entirely of amylose. Glucose forms a polymer of single straight chains to form starch. The enzyme that acts on amylose is known as amylase. There are two types of amylases one is alpha-amylase, and another is beta amylase. Amylase first breaks down the substrate into dextrin, and B-amylase breaks down the dextrin into maltose sugar.

Uses of Amylase:

▫ Amylase is used in the beer and wine industries from starch.

▫ Amylase is used in detergents to remove starch from clothes and dishes. 

▫ Amylase enzyme is used in the bakery industry to convert complex starches into simple sugars.

▫ This enzyme is used in the treatment of pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (replacement therapy).


 Catalase is the enzyme that breaks down hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen. Catalase enzyme is found in almost every living cell. They break down hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to produce water (H2O) and oxygen (O2). A single molecule of catalase enzyme can oxidize (break down) millions of H2O2 molecules into water and oxygen in a short time.

Uses of catalase

▫ Catalase enzyme is used in the dairy industry to remove hydrogen peroxide from milk before making cheese.

▫ Catalase enzyme is used in the textile industry to remove hydrogen peroxide from fabrics. 

▫ This enzyme is used to clean contact lenses.

  The different uses of lipase

  • Prepare fruit juice that is sold outside, and we drink.
  • Making cheese
  • For wound healing
  • Correcting digestion 
  • Cataract surgery in hospitals
  • Dissolving blood clot
  • In the photographic industry where photoshoots are done. 
  • In the paper industry, where paper is made from bamboo
  • The rubber industry is where rubber is produced from other substances.


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