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Do enzymes tranfer energy to break substrates?

  1. Aug 10, 2012 #1
    I'm new to the subject and i have an intuition that during the time the substrate and the enzyme are together energy is transferred to the substrate (from the enzyme) to break the bonds and to release the substrates energy*.


    But alas i have been met with opposition to this understanding, both times being presented with what seemed to be a quote, saying:

    "Why would the enzyme be needed to break down a molecule if the molecule it was breaking down already had the energy it needed to break itself down?"

    Which i think is completely illogical because its like saying:

    "Why would a person be needed to push a boulder off a cliff, if the boulder already has the energy it needed to push itself down?"

    Could anyone help enhance my understanding?

    *The reason i believe this is possible is because after the enzyme gives energy to the substrate the substrate thus releases even more energy which somehow "recharges" the enzyme.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 11, 2012 #2
    In order to understand what is going on with the enzyme and the substrate, you need to know a few basic concepts of chemistry regarding chemical equilibrium, chemical kinetics and the thermodynamics of reactions. I would suggest you first read these pages

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_equilibrium
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_kinetics
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Activation_energy
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transition_state

    and then move on to read about the page on enzymes
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enzyme
     
  4. Aug 11, 2012 #3
    But that will take along time and i might not find the answer i seek so easily..
     
  5. Aug 11, 2012 #4
    if that takes too long then how do you expect to work in industry? are you going to tell your boss "sorry boss that's just gonna take too long"? You'll get booted out the door instantly.

    to answer your question: it depends on the enzyme. if you want more details, read the papers.
     
  6. Aug 11, 2012 #5
    Truly finding out the answer involves understanding the underlying mechanisms. From your OP I sense that you need to begin from the basics. If you really want to understand something, you should be willing to invest time in study.
     
  7. Aug 14, 2012 #6
    (clears throut)...... yes....... i guess thats why i'm here...
     
  8. Aug 14, 2012 #7
    Ok i'll wiki it.............
     
  9. Aug 15, 2012 #8
    There is quite some terminology and many concepts that need to be understood before you can even talk about stuff like that, all of which cannot be effectively explained in a forum post. Even better than reading the wiki would be to pick up a basic level biochemistry textbook or even a chemistry textbook.
     
  10. Aug 16, 2012 #9
    Ya, i'm doing AS level bioloy, thats why i'm talking about it but they don't go into the "how of it".
     
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