How Does pH Level Affect Enzyme Activity?

Enzymes have a pH range in which they operate most efficiently.
••• phototake/iStock/Getty Images

Enzymes are protein-based compounds that facilitate specific chemical reactions in living organisms. Enzymes can also be used in medical and industrial contexts. Breadmaking, cheesemaking and beer brewing all depend on the activity on enzymes -- and enzymes can be inhibited if their environment is too acidic or too basic.

How pH Affects Enzymes

A pH environment has a significant effect on an enzymes. It can affect the intramolecular forces and change the enzyme's shape -- potentially to the point where it is rendered ineffective. With these effects in mind, typical enzymes have a pH range in which they perform optimally. For example, alpha amylase, which found in the mouth, operates most effectively near a neutral pH. However, lipases operate better at more basic pH levels. Buffer systems built into most organisms prevent pH levels from reaching the point where essential enzymes are rendered ineffective. If an enzyme is rendered ineffective by pH level, adjusting the pH can cause the enzyme to become effective again.

Related Articles

PH Levels of Catalase
What Is the Optimum pH for Human Stomach Enzyme Activity?
Three Variables That Can Affect Activities of an Enzyme
Role of Enzymes in Chemical Reactions
Sodium Bicarbonate Secretion in the Body
What Is the Role of Catalase?
What Happens to Enzyme Activity if the pH Is Unfavorable?
PH Levels of Catalase
Where Does Chemical Digestion Occur?
What are Two Ways That Enzymes Become Less Effective?
How Enzyme Activity Changes as Enzyme Concentration...
What Role Do Vitamins Play in Enzyme Activity?
What Are the Two Ways to Inhibit Enzyme Activity?
What Is Lipase?
Facts About the Spleen
The Activity of the Lactase Enzyme
Why Do We Need Enzymes for Digestion?
Why Does Heating Interfere With the Activity of an...
How Does Temperature Affect Catalase Enzyme Activity?
What Is the Goal of Homeostasis?