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Changing the local environment of reactants

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  • What is the role of activation energy in enzyme activity?

  • Activation energy is needed to break down chemical bonds allowing the reaction to occur. When an enzyme binds to a substrate, it lowers the substrate molecules鈥?energy to react to form products. This increases the chance of the reaction occurring and therefore increases the rate of reaction.

  • How do enzymes lower the energy needed for a chemical reaction?

  • By manipulating the substrates of the reaction, the enzyme can lower the necessary energy needed to make the reaction occur. The enzyme itself is not a component of the chemical reaction and is the same molecule at the beginning of the reaction as it is at the end.

  • How do you lower the activation energy of a reaction?

  • Fortunately, it鈥檚 possible to lower the activation energy of a reaction, and to thereby increase reaction rate. The process of speeding up a reaction by reducing its activation energy is known as catalysis, and the factor that’s added to lower the activation energy is called a catalyst.

  • How do enzymes work?

  • Enzymes work by binding to reactant molecules and holding them in such a way that the chemical bond-breaking and bond-forming processes take place more readily. Reaction coordinate diagram showing the course of a reaction with and without a catalyst. With the catalyst, the activation energy is lower than without.

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