6.1.1 - Explain why digestion of large food molecules is essential
When we eat food, the carbohydrates and other molecules are very
large and insoluble
. They would not be able to pass through the cell membranes to get into the bloodstream. Digestion breaks them down into smaller molecules that are soluble and can be taken up into the bloodstream. These smaller molecules can then be used to build up the macromolecules necessary for the function of our bodies. For example, large polypeptides are broken up into their amino acids, which are then used to build up new proteins.
6.1.2 - Explain the need for enzymes in digestion
is a biological catalyst which lowers the activation energy in order to speed up a reaction. Each enzyme is specific to a particular substrate molecule, so a number of different digestive enzymes are secreted to be able to break down all the different food types. They are secreted for the
of large polymers. These enzymes reach optimum functioning at body temperature. The enzymes lower the activation energy to allow the reaction to proceed more readily, whilst still at body temperature. Without enzymes, we would not be able to digest our food because the temperatures required to break the bonds between the large molecules would be far
for living organisms. However, without enzymes, the reactions involved in digestion would take place
very slowly at body temperature
, and we would not be able to survive. With them, the rate of reaction is significantly increased to allow for respiration at the necessary rate.