Catalysts

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A catalyst is a substance that can speed up chemical reactions by lowering the activation energy needed for a reaction to occur. Biological catalysts are known as enzymes.

Catalase vastly speeds up the decomposition of powerful and potentially harmful oxidising agent hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen. Oscar Loew was the first person who gave the substance the name catalase in 1900. He also found it was present in many plants and animals. Catalase was first noticed as a substance by a French chemist Louis Jacques Thénard in 1811. He also discovered hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) as a substance and it breakdowns down by the catalase.

Catalase has tetramer shape which contains four peptide chains each which made up more than 500 amino acids. Each of the chains contains a haem prostatic group at the centre of the structure. Haem prostatic group is responsible for the incredibly high activity of the catalase. The iron atom in the haem group aids the catalase break down the by weakening the bond between the molecules.

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