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Catalyst and Enzyme

Grade 8 Science Worksheets

A catalyst is a substance that helps a chemical reaction happen faster or easier, without being used up in the reaction itself. An enzyme is also a kind of catalyst, but it is a special type of protein that helps chemical reactions happen faster and converts the substrate into products.

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Catalyst and Enzyme - Grade 8 Science Worksheet PDF

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Before we delve into the differences between catalysts and enzymes, let us understand the concepts individually.

What is a catalyst?

A catalyst is like a helper in a chemical reaction. Think of it like a coach for a sports team. Just like a coach helps the team to perform better, a catalyst helps a chemical reaction to happen faster or easier.

A catalyst doesn’t change the outcome of the reaction, but it helps the reaction to happen more quickly or with less energy.

 

For example, baking soda is a catalyst that helps cakes to rise when they are baking in the oven. It helps the dough to get bigger faster and makes the cake fluffier. Another example is catalytic converters in cars, they help to reduce the pollution created by the car’s engine.

In short, a catalyst is a substance that helps chemical reactions happen more quickly or easily, without being used up in the reaction itself.

Some more examples of a catalyst:

1. Enzymes: These are special proteins that act as catalysts in our bodies. They help to speed up chemical reactions that happen in our cells, such as breaking down food or making new molecules.

2. Yeast: This is a type of microorganism that is used in baking. Yeast is a catalyst that helps dough to rise by making bubbles of gas that make the dough bigger.

3. Chlorophyll: This is a green pigment in plants that helps them to make their own food through a process called photosynthesis. Chlorophyll acts as a catalyst, helping the plant to use light energy to turn carbon dioxide and water into sugar and oxygen.

4. Auto catalytic converters: These are devices that are used in cars to reduce pollution. They act as a catalyst, helping to convert harmful pollutants into less harmful chemicals before they are released into the air.

5. Bleach: It is a cleaning agent that is used to whiten clothes and disinfect surfaces. The active ingredient in bleach is a chemical called sodium hypochlorite, which acts as a catalyst to break down dirt and stains.

6. Laundry Detergent: Detergent helps to remove dirt and stains from clothes by breaking down the dirt and making it easier to wash away. The ingredients in detergent act as catalysts, helping to speed up the chemical reactions that break down the dirt.

 

What are enzymes?

Enzymes are like tiny helpers inside our bodies that help chemical reactions happen faster and more easily and converts the substrate into product.

For example, enzymes help us to digest food by breaking it down into smaller pieces so that our bodies can use it for energy. Enzymes in our stomach and intestines help to break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats so that our bodies can absorb them.

Enzymes also help to build new molecules in our bodies. For example, enzymes in our cells help to build new proteins and DNA, which are important for growth and repair.

Enzymes are also found in many other living organisms and they perform a variety of functions such as breaking down food, building molecules and even protecting the organism from harmful substances.

Here are some examples of enzymes:

1. Amylase: This enzyme is found in our saliva and helps to break down carbohydrates, such as the starch in bread or potatoes, into smaller pieces called sugars.

2. Lipase: This enzyme is found in our stomach and helps to break down fats, such as the oils in food, into smaller pieces called fatty acids.

3. Protease: This enzyme is found in our stomach and helps to break down proteins, such as the meat in food, into smaller pieces called amino acids.

4. Lactase: This enzyme is found in the small intestine and helps to break down lactose, a sugar found in milk, into simpler sugars that can be easily absorbed by the body.

5. DNA polymerase: This enzyme is found in our cells and helps to build new DNA. It reads the instructions in our DNA and makes a copy of it.

6. Catalase: This enzyme is found in our cells and helps to protect our body from harmful substances. It breaks down hydrogen peroxide, which is a harmful substance that can damage our cells, into water and oxygen.

Remember, enzymes are specific to certain types of chemical reactions, and different enzymes catalyze different types of reactions.

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Difference between Catalysts and Enzymes

A catalyst is a substance that helps a chemical reaction happen faster or easier, without being used up in the reaction itself. An enzyme is also a kind of catalyst, but it is a special type of protein that helps chemical reactions happen faster and converts the substrate into products.

Think of it like this, catalysts are like helpers in a chemical reaction that can be found in different forms and places like in a car or in the kitchen, while enzymes are special helpers that are found only in living organisms and perform specific functions.

For example, baking soda is a catalyst that helps cakes rise when baking in the oven. It helps the dough to get bigger faster and makes the cake fluffier. On the other hand, amylase is an enzyme that helps to break down carbohydrates in our saliva, it helps to turn the starch in food into simpler sugars that our body can use for energy.

In summary, enzymes are a special type of catalysts that are found only in living organisms and perform specific functions, while catalysts are helpers in chemical reactions that can be found in different forms and places.

 

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FAQs

What is a catalyst?

A catalyst is a substance that speeds up a chemical reaction without being consumed or changed by the reaction itself. Catalysts work by providing an alternative pathway for the reaction that has a lower activation energy than the original pathway.

What is an enzyme?

An enzyme is a biological catalyst, typically a protein, that speeds up chemical reactions in living organisms. Enzymes are highly specific and catalyze specific reactions by binding to specific substrates.

How do catalysts and enzymes differ?

Enzymes are a specific type of catalyst that are produced by living organisms. While catalysts can be either organic or inorganic, enzymes are always organic (usually proteins). Enzymes are also highly specific and catalyze specific reactions, while non-biological catalysts may catalyze a wide range of reactions.

What factors affect enzyme activity?

Enzyme activity can be affected by several factors, including temperature, pH, substrate concentration, enzyme concentration, and the presence of inhibitors or activators.

What is the induced fit model of enzyme action?

The induced fit model of enzyme action describes the binding of a substrate to an enzyme as a dynamic process that involves conformational changes in both the enzyme and substrate. In this model, the substrate induces changes in the shape of the enzyme’s active site, allowing for a tighter and more specific binding.

Kathleen Currence is one of the founders of eTutorWorld. Previously a middle school principal in Kansas City School District, she has an MA in Education from the University of Dayton, Ohio. She is a prolific writer, and likes to explain Science topics in student-friendly language. LinkedIn Profile

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