Natural proteins produced in tiny quantities by all living organisms (bacteria, plants, and animals) and functioning as highly selective biochemical catalysts in converting one molecule into another. Enzymes are essential to life because they speed up metabolic reactions to a very great extent, but do not undergo any change in themselves. In the industry they are used for degrading oil spills and wastes into harmless compounds, in cleaning fat (food) stains, and in fermentation processes to make alcoholic beverages. Enzymes are very sensitive to environmental conditions and function best only within a narrow range of temperature and acidity (pH) levels.
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