This is the second article in a series called Enzymes for Brewers. The first article covered catalysts and protein structure. This article — on enzyme function — is mostly background material, needed to understand the more brewing-relevant information to come.
In this post, I’ll explain the basics of how proteins work. But first, since much of this may be new to some readers, let’s quickly review the information in the first installment of this series.
A catalyst is a molecule that speeds the rate of a chemical reaction, but is not used up in that reaction. Enzymes are catalysts that are biological molecules. Most enzymes are proteins, but a few RNA enzymes exist. Proteins are long strands of amino acids, joined end to end by peptide bonds. These molecules are “built” on a cellular organelle called a ribosome. [Read more...]