Understanding Plant Care: What Are Plant Enzymes And What Do They Do?

Explanation of plant enzymes and the function of these enzymes regarding plant care.

There's a good amount of information available about plant enzymes and their function. After reading most of the material, a person's head tends to swim with too much and too detailed information. The workings of a living organism, whether human, animal, plant, or even cell life are confusing processes to understand. It helps to have the basics spelled out in the simplest terms possible. Enzyme function is one of those processes that can get quite detailed and complicated, when written about in-depth. For the purposes of plant care, only a basic and simplified understanding is necessary.

An enzyme is an organic substance made up of amino acids, proteins, or RNA. The composition of an enzyme depends on its function within the metabolic process. Enzymes all function as an aid in the general process of converting minerals into absorbable food for the plant, with a little help from various types of bacteria in some cases. Without enzymes, plants cannot effectively use the minerals available to them. Enzymes are usually categorized according to the specific minerals they are meant to interact with, 700 of which have been identified to date.

While that seems simple enough to understand, knowing more about what enzymes are and do is important to keeping plants as healthy as possible. Because it's necessary to balance mineral applications with enzyme mixtures so plants will be capable of absorbing all the nutrients possible. Enzymes are the main tools which all living things, including plants, depend upon in order to regulate metabolic activity. The chemical reaction between enzyme and mineral, not only produces a by-product of absorbable nutrition for the plant, but also regulates the plant's metabolic rate. Acting as a catalyst for the chemical reaction necessary to produce plant nutrition, enzymes are responsible for the speed of these reactions, and work to keep the nutrients flowing at a regular pace. Since enzymes play such an important role, having the right amount of enzymes introduced with the mineral application is pivotal for plant health.

Knowing that enzymes react with minerals to create nutrients isn't enough to properly maintain healthy plants. It's helpful to understand how enzymes work in a bit more specific terms. Any chemical reaction within a living thing, helped along by an enzyme, might occur with or without any enzymes present. It may, however take a thousand years, if it ever actually occurs. That's what makes enzymes so vital to life. Enzymes don't create the chemical reaction; they are responsible for helping speed up the process and make sure it happens. Categories, such as hydrolytic and oxidizing, label enzymes according to the reaction each controls. Simplified, enzymes consist of a small number of amino acids which come together in a specific shape, creating the location on the enzyme where the reaction occurs. This "active site" is the place where the mineral, or substrate, binds to the enzyme, and the reaction takes place. Each enzyme is specifically shaped to ensure that only proper reactions occur, meaning, enzymes can only join with those substrates that are shaped to match exactly. The enzyme, throughout the reaction process, remains unaffected. Once the reaction has taken place, and the resulting substances have been released, the enzyme is ready for a new reaction.

While enzyme function is interesting information to know, it's also important for aiding with plant care. Armed with a more intimate understanding of enzymes, finding products with appropriate mineral and enzyme content is much easier. When looking for soil and feeding mixtures, make sure to take note of the minerals and enzymes present in each. Compare products, and their content, to get the most complete mixture possible. There are also many enzymes and mineral supplements available, and can be added to any plant care regimen that may be lacking in a specific area. Making sure the essential minerals and enzymes are present is only half of the battle. Providing plants with an equivalent amount of minerals and the corresponding enzymes completes the plant care picture. Both are necessary to sustain good plant health, by offering a well-balanced and nutritional growing environment.

© High Speed Ventures 2011