Difference Between Enzymes and Inorganic Catalysts

Main Difference

The main difference between Enzymes and Inorganic Catalysts is that Enzymes are the globular proteins, whereas Inorganic Catalysts are the small molecules or the mineral ions.

Enzymes vs. Inorganic Catalysts

Enzymes are referred to as the biological catalysts that are involved in accelerating the chemical reactions of the living system. Inorganic catalysts, on the other hand, are the small size molecules that operate in the physical or non-living world. Enzymes are the protein in nature. Conversely, as the name shows, inorganic catalysts are inorganic by nature.

The substance on which both the enzymes and inorganic catalysts is called substrate. The molecules of enzymes are quite large when we compare it to the size of substrate molecules. Inorganic catalysts, on the flip side, are considered to have a little difference between the size of the substrate molecules and the catalyst. High molecular weight is generally shown by the enzymes, whereas, inorganic catalysts have relatively very low molecular weight.

Enzymes are considered as effective catalysts but in an adequate range of temperatures, which are present in living beings. At low temperatures (10°C and below), the enzymes become inactivate, and at high temperatures (50°C and above), they get denatured. Inorganic catalysts, on the other side, are not sensitive to the small changes that occur in temperature. They are generally considered to operate at a high temperature.

Comparison Chart

EnzymesInorganic Catalysts
The globular proteins are called the enzymes.The small molecules or the mineral ions are called inorganic catalysts.
Size
Enzymes are the complex macromolecules and also have a three-dimensional structure.Inorganic catalysts have small size molecules.
Comparison with Substrate
The size of the enzyme is quite large as compared to the size of the substrate molecules.The difference between the size of the inorganic catalyst and substrate molecules is very little.
Regulation
The specific type of molecules is responsible for the regulation of enzymes.None of the regulatory molecules can regulate the inorganic catalysts.
Acceleration of Reaction
Enzymes can accelerate a definite reaction of a substrate.A diverse reaction can be accelerated by the inorganic catalysts.
Synthesis
The ribosomes present in the living cells are responsible for the synthesis of enzymes.The living cells do not have any role in the synthesis of inorganic catalysts.
Temperature
Enzymes are more sensitive to the temperature.Inorganic catalysts are responsible for showing a less sensitive behavior to the temperature.
pH
Enzymes show more sensitive behavior to pH.Inorganic catalysts are less sensitive to pH.
Pressure
Enzymes carry out their activities at normal pressure.Inorganic catalysts are considered to work at high pressure.
Efficiency
Enzymes are highly efficient.Inorganic catalysts are less efficient.
Molecular Weight
High molecular weight is shown by enzymes.Inorganic catalysts have low molecular weight.
Protein Poisons
Many chemicals poisoned the enzymes and are called protein poisons.The inorganic catalysts are not adversely affected by the protein poisons.
Rays of Shorter Wavelength
Enzymes get denatured by the rays of shorter wave­length.The short wave radiations do not show much influence on inorganic catalysts.
Usage
They mediate biochemical reactions and originate from the biological world.Inorganic catalysts operate in the physical or non-living world.

What are Enzymes?

Enzymes are the macromolecules, which are protein in nature, and their study is known as enzymology. The origin of the enzymes is found in the biological world. Most of the enzymes are proteins, but a few of them are catalytic RNA molecules. The latter is also known as the ribozymes. Some enzymes are also used commercially, for instance, in the synthesis of the antibiotics.

In order to speed up the chemical reactions, some household products use enzymes: they break down starch, protein, or fat stains on clothes in biological washing powders, and the enzymes which are present in meat tenderizer are involved in the break down of the proteins into smaller molecules and make the meat easier to chew.

What are Inorganic Catalysts?

Inorganic catalysts are referred to as small molecules or mineral ions. They are the small size molecules and are used to accelerate the diverse reactions. They have meager molecular weight and are less efficient. The working of the inorganic catalysts is not controlled by the regu­lator molecules. The short wave radiations do not show much influence on inorganic catalysts. They are not adversely affected by the protein poisons. They operate in the physical or in the non-living world.

Key Differences

  1. The globular proteins are called the enzymes, whereas, the small molecules or the mineral ions are called inorganic catalysts.
  2. Enzymes are referred to as the complex macromolecules that comprise a three-dimensional structure, while, inorganic catalysts are considered to have small size molecules.
  3. The size of the enzyme is quite large as compared to the size of the substrate molecules; on the other side, the difference between the size of inorganic catalyst and substrate molecules is very little.
  4. Enzymes can accelerate a definite reaction of a substrate; on the other hand, inorganic catalysts can accelerate the diverse reaction.
  5. The specific type of molecules is responsible for the regulation of enzymes. Conversely, none of the regulatory molecules can regulate the inorganic catalysts.
  6. The ribosomes present in the living cells are responsible for the synthesis of enzymes, on the flip side, the living cells do not have any role in the synthesis of inorganic catalysts.
  7. Enzymes are more sensitive to the temperature; on the other side, inorganic catalysts are less sensitive to the temperature.
  8. Enzymes are more sensitive to the pH, while, inorganic catalysts are less sensitive to the pH.
  9. Enzymes carry out their activities at normal pressure; on the other hand, inorganic catalysts usually work at high pressure.
  10. Enzymes are highly efficient, whereas inorganic catalysts are less efficient.
  11. Enzymes have high molecular weight; on the flip side, a very low molecular weight is shown by the inorganic catalysts.
  12. A large number of chemicals poisoned the enzymes, which are called protein poisons; on the other hand, the inorganic catalysts are not adversely affected by the protein poisons.
  13. Enzymes get denatured by the rays of shorter wavelength, on the flip side, inorganic catalysts are not much influenced by the short wave radiations.
  14. They mediate biochemical reactions and originate from the biological world, while, inorganic catalysts operate in the physical or non-living world.

Comparison Video

YouTube video

Conclusion

All of the above discussion summarizes that enzymes are the globular proteins and are synthesized in the living system by ribosomes, whereas, inorganic catalysts are the small molecules or the mineral ions that are not synthesized by the living cells.

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White

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