How does pH affect cellular respiration?

1 Answer
Aug 28, 2015

It's all to do with enzymes and the effect of pH on them.


Enzymes play a large part in respiration as it helps to catalyse the reaction. Enzymes are affected greatly by pH. Enzymes are said to have an optimum pH. This means that when the pH is greater than the optimum, the enzyme will be denatured and no longer be able to catalyse the reaction. This is because enzymes are proteins, and they consist of long strings of amino acids, of which hydrogen plays a significant part.

Acids are substances that contain #H^+# ions, while alkalis contain #OH^-# ions - so pH is essentially a measure of how many #H^+# ions are in a substance. Therefore, if the enzymes environment has a lower than optimum pH, there will be more #H^+# ions, which could result in the bonds between the enzyme's amino acids being changed - therefore changing the shape and denaturing it.

I hope this helps, I feel like I haven't heard it that well so feel free to let me know if you need any more help, or something explaining better.