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Asked by Fatma

Where and how does pH affect carbohydrases?

Carbohydrases are enzymes that break down carbohydrates into smaller sugar molecules. They are usually made in the the pancreas and released into the small intestines. All enzymes are sensitive to changes in pH. This is because every enzyme works best at an optimum pH. Changes to pH affect the enzyme’s active site. The shape of the active site is complementary to its substrate. So if the active site is changed, due to changes in pH, the the substrate can no longer bind to the active site and the reaction cannot be catalysed. At this point the enzyme is denatured. Enzymes denature when the pH is far away from its optimum. The reason for this is pH is a measure of hydrogen ion concentration. The lower the pH, the more hydrogen ions are present. Enzymes are large protein molecules that are held together by peptide bonds and other bonds such as hydrogen bonds, ionic bonds etc. Hydrogen ions can disrupt or break hydrogen bond interactions within the enzymes. These bonds are important in maintain the shape of the active site hence the shape is lost and the enzyme denatures. I hope this answers your question.

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Zeba Chowdhury

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