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What is a Hydrolase?

By Meshell Powell
Updated Jan 29, 2024
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Hydrolase is a term often used in biochemistry. It refers to a specific class of enzyme that works to control the process of hydrolysis in the body. Hydrolysis is basically a chemical reaction that is caused when a molecule of water works to split apart another molecule in the body. There are many types of hydrolase in the human body, each causing different reactions.

The various enzymes in the body are divided into different categories. The hydrolase enzyme is classified as an EC 3. These enzymes are then divided further into several subcategories, depending on the particular bonds they act upon during the chemical processes.

While the hydrolase enzymes work to cause chemical reactions in many different types of molecules, there are certain areas of the body that are changed the most by this type of chemical reaction. These include phosphate esters, fats, proteins, starch, and nucleic acids. These reactions cause various changes within the body.

For instance, when water is added to phosphate esters, the phosphate molecules actually become smaller. This process takes several hours to achieve. The reaction time for this process can be affected significantly by other factors, including acidic conditions within the body or even elevated temperatures. This is one of many examples of the effects of a hydrolase enzyme at work.

The hydrolase enzymes have a different effect when it comes to fats. In the hydrolysis process for fats or oils, both water and lipase are involved. Lipase is another type of enzyme that is water-soluble. The chemical reaction involved in this instance is responsible for helping the body to burn fat.

In protein hydrolysis, the enzymes work together with not only water, but also hydrochloric acid. During this chemical reaction, the hydrochloric acid actually vaporizes when it comes into contact with the protein samples. This hydrolysis process allows small protein samples to be isolated and separated, making it possible to analyze these samples during physician-ordered lab testing.

The hydrolase enzymes used when it comes to starches is called amylase. During this hydrolysis process, starches are broken down into sugars by the body. This chemical reaction helps to provide energy as well as aids in the digestive process.

Nucleic acids are responsible for carrying the genetic information present in each person. The process of hydrolysis is used along with these acids to isolate DNA material. This has allowed a new world to open up in the field of genetic testing.

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Discussion Comments
By MrMoody — On Dec 02, 2011

@David09 - A lot of enzymes have catalytic processes. Take the amylase enzyme. That one is actually in your mouth, and it helps to break down the food into sugar. I understand that in food manufacturing they use amylase to convert corn to corn syrup. They basically mimic the same process that the body uses to break starch down into simple sugars.

By David09 — On Dec 01, 2011

When I was studying diet and nutrition, I learned that lipase was the fat buster. The thing is that lipase is made by your body, however. I don’t think that you can get it from food.

You can, however, buy supplements that contain lipase and other enzymes that will help to burn your body fat faster. As a matter of fact, I bet that some of the so-called “liposuction in a pill” supplements out on the market have lipase in them.

I don’t know that for a fact, but it would seem to make sense in my opinion.

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