The Pros and Cons of Using Enzymes in Medicine and Industry

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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Enzymes in Medicine and Industry

What is an enzyme?


In relative terms enzymes are biological catalysts; control the rate

of chemical reaction, different temperatures and pH’s affect their

optimum rate of reaction in living organisms.

In detail; enzymes are globular proteins, which catalyse chemical

reactions in living organisms, they are produced by living cells –

each cell has hundreds of enzymes. Cells can never run out of enzymes

as they or used up in a reaction. Enzymes work by lowering the

activation energy required by molecules to start the reaction off.

Enzymes also react (reversibly) with substrates (The molecule(s) that

the enzyme is catalysing) this is done by forming Enzyme-substrate

complex, which is then broken down into products. As well as being

affected by temperature and pH enzymes optimum rate of reaction is

also changed by competitive and non competitive inhibitors.

Competitive inhibitors inhibit the enzyme so that enzyme-substrate

complex’s cant form until it’s unblocked or there is a change in

concentration in substrate, this means it takes longer to reach the

optimum rate of reaction. Non – competitive inhibitors change the

globular shape of an enzyme so that a enzyme-substrate complexes can’t

form meaning a lower optimum rate of reaction.

Enzymes in Medicine


Enzymes can have good and bad effects to the body; it depends on the

situation that they are being used in.

For example some bacteria is a lot more dangerous than others because

of certain enzymes that they contain, meaning that they can do things

such as (depending on the enzyme) duplicate faster, inhibit other

enzymes and break down substrate’s that should not be broken down etc,

in general cause more damage to its holder.

The unusual presence of an enzyme can give a diagnostic to a disease.

For example if the liver is damaged or diseased then some of its

enzymes will leak into the bloodstream. A blood test will check for

this and give the doctor an idea as to what has happened.

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