Science: Explaining Nature's Catalysts

Enzymes are aptly called the mediators of life. Without these essential proteins, vital chemical reactions would occur far too slowly, if at all. Living things could not grow, digest food, store energy, transmit messages across nerve cells or reproduce. Like laboratory or industrial catalysts, enzymes trigger and speed up chemical reactions without themselves being affected or altered by them. But enzymes can cause these reactions to take place up to a billion times faster than catalysts used in the laboratory or chemical plant.

Active Sites. Just how enzymes work their magic—without the aid of the high temperatures and pressures used in industry—has...

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