Water's role in biological catalysis?

  1. Why is water required to be present in biological processes involving catalysis. I read that online and the way it was written made it look sort of obvious ( like, duh ) but I don't understand it. Help?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Borek

    Staff: Mentor

    All biological processes evolved in water solutions, so the presence of water is taken as granted. Doesn't mean some of them can't be replicated in different solvents, but I suppose they will be much slower, as water has very particular properties.
     
  4. Ygggdrasil

    Ygggdrasil 1,558
    Science Advisor

    Biological catalysts (for the most part, enzymes) are complex polymers that must fold into a specific shape in order to perform their function. Much of the energy driving the folding of these polymers into the correct shape comes from the hydrophobic effect, which forces non-polar regions of the polymer toward the interior of the structure and polar regions toward the exterior. In non-aqueous solutions, these polymers will not fold correctly and therefore will not be able to catalyze any reactions.
     
  5. Thanks guys.
     
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