What is the process of hydrolysis?

1 Answer
Apr 9, 2016

Hydrolysis is when you break up a molecule by adding water.


Hydrolysis comes from Hydros, the Greek god of water, and lysis, meaning cut or unbind. Hydrolysis is literally water-cutting.

An example of hydrolysis is with proteins. Proteins are formed with condensation reactions between amino acids - they lose #H_2O# and the bodies of the acids join, forming a long chain called a polypeptide.

If you were to add back in #H_2O# and use an enzyme to help the reaction, the polypeptide would break back down into individual amino acids and some short peptide chains.

Hydrolysis also works with sugars - the glycosidic bonds, formed through condensation reactions too, can be broken down with water, from long, starch-like molecules into individual glucose molecules or other sugar monomers.

Simply, though, hydrolysis is just breaking down long molecules into short ones using water.