The key difference between enzymatic and nonenzymatic reaction is that biological catalysts (enzymes) catalyze enzymatic reactions whereas chemical catalysts catalyze some nonenzymatic reactions while other nonenzymatic reactions do not need any catalyst for catalyzation. Therefore, enzymatic reactions are only biological reactions in nature, but nonenzymatic reactions can be either biological or chemical reactions in nature.
Enzymes are biological compounds that fall into the category of tertiary proteins. Therefore, these enzymes have a complicated structure. Generally, all reactions can be put into two categories: either enzymatic reactions or nonenzymatic reactions according to the participation of an enzyme in the catalysis of the reaction.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Enzymatic Reaction
3. What is Nonenzymatic Reaction
4. Side by Side Comparison – Enzymatic vs Nonenzymatic Reaction in Tabular Form
What is Enzymatic Reaction
The enzymes are biological compounds that can reduce the activation energy of a biological reaction. Furthermore, enzymatic reactions are biological reactions in which enzymes involve in their catalysis. The activation energy is the energy barrier that the reactants need to overcome in order to obtain the products of the reaction. When the activation energy enzymes reduce this activation energy, it is what we call catalysis. Therefore, enzymes are very helpful in increasing the reaction rate of important biological reactions and making them progress to give products.
Moreover, enzymes have specific locations on their surface that are known as active sites. The mechanism of an enzymatic reaction includes the binding of a reactant on to the active site followed by the progression of the reaction. At the end of the completion of the reaction, the products are released from the active site.
What is Nonenzymatic Reaction
Nonenzymatic reactions are either biological or chemical reactions in which, if a catalyst involves, it becomes a chemical catalyst. Some reactions do not need any catalyst for catalyzation. That is because those reactions have a low activation energy barrier that does not affect the reaction progression.
A good example of this type of reactions is nonenzymatic browning in food. Browning is the process of turning food surfaces into brown color. That occurs due to chemical reactions taking place on the food surface. Browning occurs in two ways; they are enzymatic and nonenzymatic browning. There, the nonenzymatic browning includes the formation of brown color pigments on the food surface without the activity of enzymes. There are two forms as caramelization and Millard reaction. Caramelization involves pyrolysis of sugar-producing the caramel flavor. Millard reaction includes the reaction between an amine group and a carbonyl group in the presence of heat forming Melanoidins.
What is the Difference Between Enzymatic and Nonenzymatic Reaction
Enzymatic reactions are biological reactions in which enzymes involve in their catalysis. Nonenzymatic reactions are either biological or chemical reactions in which, if a catalyst involves, it is a chemical catalyst. Therefore enzymatic reactions are only biological reactions in nature, but nonenzymatic reactions can be either biological or chemical reactions in nature.
Furthermore, enzymes catalyze in the enzymatic reactions, but enzymes do not take part in the catalysis process in the nonenzymatic reactions.
Summary – Enzymatic vs Nonenzymatic Reaction
All the biological and chemical reactions fall into two categories such as enzymatic and nonenzymatic reactions. The difference between enzymatic and nonenzymatic reaction is that biological catalysts (enzymes) catalyze enzymatic reactions whereas some nonenzymatic reactions involve chemical catalysts while some other do not involve any catalyst.
1. “Enzyme Catalysis.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 15 May 2018. Available here
2. “Food Browning.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 Mar. 2018. Available here