Inorganic Catalysts and Enzymes

Inorganic Catalysts and Enzymes


The inorganic catalysts and enzymes resemble as well as differ in many respects.

Similarities: The important similarities between inorganic catalysts and enzymes are listed below:

1): Quantity: Quantity refers to the amount or concentration of a substance involved in a reaction. It can affect the rate of a reaction, as an increase in the quantity of reactants generally leads to an increase in the rate of reaction, assuming  other factors remain constant.Both are needed in minute quantities as compared to the substrate.

2): Reaction Rate:  Reaction Rate is the speed at which a reaction takes place, typically measured by the changed in concentration of a reactant or product per unit of time. It is influenced by factors such as the concentration of reactants  temperature, and the presence of a catalyst. They do not initiate a reaction, but only increase its rate.

3): Activition Energy: Activity energy is the minimum amount of energy required for a reaction to occur . It is the energy barrier that must be overcome for reactant molecules to transform into products. Increasing the activation energy decreases the rate of reactions, while decreasing the activation energy increases the rate.They accelerate the chemical reaction by lowering the activation energy.

4): Temporary Complexes: Temporary Complexes, also known as transition state or activated complexes, are formed during a reaction as reactant molecules come together and undergo chemical rearrangement to form products. These temporary complexes are unstable and exist only for a brief period of time before converting into products.They only temporarily combine with the substrate molecules. 

5): Repeated Use: Repeated use refers to the ability to reuse a catalyst in multiple reactions without being consumed or permanently altered. Catalysts increase the rate of reaction pathway with a lower activation energy. They participate in the reaction, but are regenerated and remain unchanged at the end of the process, allowing them to be used again in subsequent reactions without being consumed.They do no undergo any change in their Composition and quantity and can be used again and again.

6):Unchanged End Products: Unchanged end product refers to a reaction where the products formed are not further transformed or changed in subsequent reactions. In other words, the end product remains the same and does not undergo further chemical reactions.  The do not alter the nature and quantity of the end products of the reaction 

For example, in the reaction between sodium hydroxide ( NaOH) and hydrochloric acid ( HCI) ,sodium chloride ( NaCI) and water ( H2O) are formed as the products. The sodium chloride remains unchanged and does not undergo any further reactions.

In some cases, however, reactions can have multiple steps, with intermediate products formed before reaching the final, unchanged end product. These intermediate products are not the final outcome but undergo further transformations in subsequent steps to eventually form the unchanged end product.

7): Reversibility: Reversibility refers to the ability to reverse or undo a process or reaction. In reversible reactions, the reactants can convert into products, and the products can convert back into reactants, under the appropriate conditions.The reactions speeded up by both are reversible.

 For example, the reaction of water ( H2O) decomposing into hydrogen gas ( H2) and oxygen gas ( O2) can be reversed. When hydrogen gas and oxygen gas are combined, they can react to  form water  again. This reaction is reversible because the reactants can regenerate the original products, and vice versa.

Another aspect of reversibility is that the reactants and products can reach an equilibrium  state, where the forward and reverse reactions occur at the same rate. This means that the concentrations of the reactants and products remain constant over time, creating a dynamic balance between the two.

Differences: Main differences between the inorganic catalysts and enzymes are given :

Inorganic catalysts:

1): Are mineral ions or simple molecules.

2): Have low molecular weight.

3): Catalyse nonbiological reactions. 

4): Can catalyse a variety of chemical reactions. 

5): Are much less affected by changes in temperature and pH.

6): Activity not regulated by any  regulator molecules. 

7): Are not affected by poisons and radiation.

8) Are less efficient catalysts. 

Enzymes ( Biocatalysts):

1): Most are complex proteins with  3_ dimensional structure. 

2): Have very high molecular weight.

3): Catalyse biological reactions .

4): Can catalyse a specific types of reaction or act on a particular substrate only.

5): Are greatly affected by changes in temperature and pH.

6): Activity may be regulated by specific cofactors.

7): Are inactivated by poisons and radiation.

8): Are very efficient catalysts. 


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