Q:

What does catalase do?

A:

Catalase is an enzyme found in organisms exposed to oxygen. It breaks down hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen, according the Encyclopedia Britannica. It is found in large amounts in the tissues of mammals, and it helps prevent damage to tissues from peroxide, which is a byproduct of many metabolic reactions.

According to the National Institutes of Health, oxidative stress from hydrogen peroxide is thought to be related to many chronic or late onset diseases such as diabetes, asthma, Alzheimer's and many cancers. According to the Protein Data Bank, catalase is one of the most efficient enzymes found in cells. A single catalase molecule can break down millions of hydrogen peroxide molecules. Human catalases use an iron ion to help in this very rapid reaction. Because catalase is involved in breaking down very reactive molecules, it is uncommonly stable for an enzyme. Organisms that rely on oxygen to power their cells must carefully control its presence in their systems because oxygen is easily converted into other reactive compounds that can cause significant damage. Chemical reactions involving electrons can convert oxygen into superoxide radicals, hydrogen peroxide or hydroxyl radicals, all of which are dangerous molecules that attack and mutate DNA and need to be broken down and neutralized.

Learn More

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Does glycolysis require oxygen?

    A:

    Glycolysis takes place in the cell's cytoplasm and can occur with or without oxygen. However, without oxygen present, the glycolysis phase of cellular respiration doesn't produce additional adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why do we need to breathe?

    A:

    According to Estrella Mountain Community College, people need to breathe because human cells require oxygen to use food energy efficiently and to release the carbon dioxide generated by that use. The lungs are designed to maximize their surface area as they fill with air in order to allow as much of the gases to diffuse into and out of the blood as possible.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Which process uses oxygen in plants, algae and animals?

    A:

    The process that uses oxygen in plants, algae and animals is cellular respiration. In this process, oxygen is used to decompose glucose into energy that is used for energy, growth and other metabolic processes. Aside from energy, this process also results in the creation of carbon dioxide and water.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why do humans need air?

    A:

    Human beings require air because, like all other animals, they are aerobic organisms who require oxygen, which is a component of air. While oxygen is found in water, humans evolved to extract the oxygen from air, as birds, mammals and reptiles do, instead of from the water, as fish and some amphibians do. Additionally, air is necessary to keep the planet warm as it insulates the planet like a blanket.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore