College Chemistry : Enzymes, Catalysts, and Activation Energy

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for College Chemistry

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Enzymes, Catalysts, And Activation Energy

Which of the following is true regarding an enzyme-catalyzed reaction?

Possible Answers:

The reaction becomes more exergonic

The reaction is driven towards the right

The rate of the forward reaction and the reverse reaction both increase

The reaction is driven towards the left

Correct answer:

The rate of the forward reaction and the reverse reaction both increase

Explanation:

For this question, we need to determine a true statement with regard to reactions that are catalyzed by enzymes.

To answer this, it's important to distinguish between the thermodynamics of a reaction and the kinetics. When adding an enzyme, the activation energy for the reaction is lowered. What this means is that it becomes easier for the reactants to achieve the high-energy transition state on their way to becoming product. Thus, enzymes affect the kinetics of a reaction by increasing both the forward rate and the reverse rate.

But if we look at the thermodynamics of an enzyme-catalyzed reaction, there is no change. In other words, the difference in free energy between the reactants and the products remains the same, regardless of the presence of enzyme. Thus, an enzyme will not cause a reaction to change its equilibrium position; it cannot shift a reaction towards the left or towards the right.

Because the thermodynamics of the reaction remain unchanged, the reaction will not become more exergonic, nor will it become more endergonic. Furthermore, the equilibrium of the reaction will not shift.

Example Question #2 : Enzymes, Catalysts, And Activation Energy

Which of the following statements is true with respect to reactions involving enzymes?

Possible Answers:

In the presence of enzyme, the equilibrium is shifted to the right

In the presence of enzyme, the rate constant is decreased

In the presence of enzyme, the equilibrium is shifted to the left

In the presence of enzyme, the rate constant is increased

Correct answer:

In the presence of enzyme, the rate constant is increased

Explanation:

For this question, we're asked to select a true statement regarding reactions that are influenced by enzymes.

When thinking about how enzymes affect reactions, its important to draw a distinction between kinetics and thermodynamics. Enzymes increase a reaction's rate, but they don't change the equilibrium of a reaction. In other words, they make reactions go faster, but they don't make reactions go.

Since enzymes don't affect equilibrium, we can rule out two of the answer choices. Moreover, we know that enzymes increase the reaction rate by lower the activation energy. Consequently, this raises the rate constant for the reaction.

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