In its simplest definition, hydrolysis
is a chemical reaction in which water is used to break down the bonds of a particular substance. In biotechnology and as far as living organisms are concerned, these substances are often polymers
(simply put, many similar molecules can that join together).The word hydrolysis
comes from the word hydro, which is Greek for water, and lysis, which means "to unbind." In practical terms, hydrolysis
means the act of separating chemicals when water is added. There are three main types of hydrolysis: salt, acid, and base hydrolysis. Hydrolysis
can also be thought of as the exact opposite reaction to condensation, which is the process whereby two molecules combine to form one larger molecule. The end result of this reaction is that the larger molecule ejects a water molecule. In a hydrolysis
reaction involving an ester link, such as that found between two amino acids in a protein, the molecule is split. The resulting product is a split of the water molecule (H2O) into an OH and an H+ that form a hydroxyl (OH) group, and another that becomes a carboxylic acid with the addition of the remaining hydrogen proton (H+).
Relevant Topics in General Science