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Hydrolysis Reaction

Hydrolysis Reaction

Hydrolysis is a chemical reaction during which polymers (large molecules) break down into monomers (small molecules).

During hydrolysis, covalent bonds between monomers break, which allows for the breaking down of polymers.

Bonds are broken down using water. Hydro literally means 'water', and - lysis stands for 'to unbind'.

Hydrolysis is the opposite of condensation! If you already know all about condensation in biological molecules, you will be familiar with the fact that bonds between monomers form with the loss of water. In hydrolysis, on the other hand, water is necessary to break down these chemical bonds.

What is the general equation of a hydrolysis reaction?

The general equation of hydrolysis is the general equation for condensation, but reversed:

AB stands for a compound, while A and B stand for atoms or groups of atoms.

What is an example of a hydrolysis reaction?

Lactose is a simple carbohydrate - a disaccharide composed of two monosaccharides: galactose and glucose. Lactose is formed when glucose and galactose bond with glycosidic bonds. Here, we will again take lactose as an example - although we are now splitting it instead of condensing it!

If we swap the AB, and the A and B from the general equation above with the lactose, galactose, and glucose formulas, we get the following:

After the breakdown of lactose, both galactose and glucose each have six carbon atoms (C6), 12 hydrogen atoms (H12), and six oxygen atoms (O6).

Notice that lactose has 22 hydrogen atoms and 11 oxygen atoms, so how do both sugars end up with H12 and O6?

When the water molecule splits to break the bond between two monomers, both galactose and glucose gain one hydrogen atom (which then makes it 12 for each molecule), and one of them gets the remaining oxygen atom, leaving them both with 6 in total.

Therefore, the water molecule is split between both resulting sugars , with one receiving the hydrogen atom (H) and the other receiving the hydroxyl group (OH).

The diagram of hydrolysis of lactose would look like this:

Hydrolysis Reaction, Hydrolysis reaction of lactose, StudySmarter originalFig. 1 - The hydrolysis reaction of lactose

The hydrolysis reaction is the same for all polymers, as well as lipids. Similarly, condensation is the same for all monomers, along with non-monomers that are fatty acids and glycerol.

Therefore, you can conclude that:

  • The hydrolysis reaction of polymers polysaccharides breaks them down into monomers: monosaccharides. Water is added, and covalent glycosidic bonds between monosaccharides are broken.

  • The hydrolysis reaction of polymers polypeptides breaks them down into monomers that are amino acids . Water is added, and covalent peptide bonds between amino acids are broken.

  • The hydrolysis reaction of polymers polynucleotides breaks them down into monomers: nucleotides. Water is added, and covalent phosphodiester bonds between nucleotides are broken.

So, for the breaking down of lipids:

During the hydrolysis reaction of lipids, they are broken down into their constituents, fatty acids, and glycerol. Water is added, and covalent ester bonds between fatty acids and glycerol are broken.

Remember that lipids are NOT polymers and fatty acids and glycerol are NOT monomers.

What is the purpose of hydrolysis reaction?

Hydrolysis is crucial for the normal functioning of cells. By allowing large molecules to break down, hydrolysis ensures the smaller molecules are formed. These are absorbed by cells more easily. This way, cells get their energy for cellular activities.

One of the most straightforward examples would be the food we eat. Macromolecules such as proteins in meat and cheese and lipids in fats are first broken down in the digestive tract before any energy reaches the cells. Various enzymes (proteins) help hydrolysis reactions.

Without hydrolysis, cells would not be able to function properly. And if you remember that cells make every part of our bodies, it means that all living organisms rely on both condensation and hydrolysis to store and release much-needed energy.

Hydrolysis Reaction - Key takeaways

  • Hydrolysis is a chemical reaction during which polymers (large molecules) are broken down into monomers (small molecules).
  • During hydrolysis, covalent bonds between monomers break, which allows for the breaking of polymers.
  • Covalent bonds are broken with the use of water.
  • The disaccharide lactose is broken down into monosaccharides galactose and glucose. Covalent bonds glycosidic bonds between galactose and glucose break with the help of water.

  • The hydrolysis reaction is the same for all polymers: polysaccharides, polypeptides and polynucleotides, and lipids, which are not polymers.

  • The purpose of a hydrolysis reaction is to allow for the normal functioning of cells. They absorb smaller molecules, which are the product of hydrolysis, and so get the energy for cellular activities.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hydrolysis Reaction

An example of a hydrolysis reaction: hydrolysis of lactose.
Lactose is broken down into galactose and glucose, with the addition of water.

Yes, the enzymes help break down food during hydrolysis in the digestive tract.

In a hydrolysis reaction, covalent bonds between monomers break, and the polymers break down into monomers. Water is added.

If we take hydrolysis of lactose as an example, you would write the equation as follows: C12H22O11 + H2O --->  C6H12O6+ C6H12O6

In a condensation reaction, covalent bonds between monomers are formed, while in hydrolysis they are broken. Also, water is removed in condensation, but it is added in hydrolysis. The end result of condensation is a polymer. In contrast, the end result of hydrolysis is a polymer broken down into monomers.

Final Hydrolysis Reaction Quiz

Question

What is the definition of hydrolysis?

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Answer

Hydrolysis is a chemical reaction during which polymers (large molecules) are broken down into monomers (small molecules).


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Question

What happens with water during hydrolysis?

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Answer

Water is added during hydrolysis.

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What happens during hydrolysis of lactose?

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Answer

The hydrolysis reaction breaks lactose down by breaking glycosidic bonds between galactose and glucose. Water is added to the reaction.

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What is the name of the covalent bond that breaks between monosaccharides during hydrolysis?

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Answer

A glycosidic bond.

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What polymers are broken down during the hydrolysis in which the result is amino acids?

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Answer

Polypeptides

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What happens during hydrolysis of polynucleotides? Fill in the gaps.
During the hydrolysis reaction of polynucleotides, they are _____  ______ into monomers ___________. Water is added, and covalent bonds called ____________ ________ between nucleotides are _______.

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Answer

During the hydrolysis reaction of polynucleotides, they are broken down into monomer nucleotides. Water is added, and covalent bonds called phosphodiester bonds between nucleotides are broken.


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Lipids do not go through hydrolysis reactions as they are not polymers. 

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Answer

False. 


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What is the purpose of hydrolysis?

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Answer

The purpose of hydrolysis reaction is the breaking down of polymers into monomers or small molecules. This is important for the normal functioning of cells, as they absorb small molecules, which give them energy.

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What happens in the digestive tract after we eat?

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Answer

The food is broken down into smaller molecules during hydrolysis in the digestive tract. Proteins that help catalyse hydrolysis are enzymes.

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Why are living organisms dependent on both condensation and hydrolysis?

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Answer

Because the much-needed energy is stored in macromolecules that are formed during condensation, and it is released during hydrolysis.


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What are the proteins that help hydrolysis called?

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Answer

Enzymes.

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Question

One molecule of ___ is needed for each hydrolysis reaction.

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Answer

Water

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Which reaction is the opposite of hydrolysis?

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Answer

Condensation reaction

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True or False. Hydrolysis is a catabolic reaction.

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Answer

True.

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True or False: Hydrolysis is an anabolic reaction.

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True.

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What is a catabolic reaction?

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A catabolic reaction involves the breakdown of one molecule into two or more molecules.

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What is an anabolic reaction?

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Answer

An anabolic reaction involves joining two or more substances together to form one or more larger products. 

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Which of these is not an example of a catabolic reaction?

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Answer

Proteins getting broken down into amino acids.

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Amino acids join together to form ____ in an _____ reaction.

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Answer

Proteins, anabolic

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Digestion is an example of ____ reactions followed by ___ reactions once the products have been absorbed into the blood.

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Answer

Catabolic, anabolic.

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Question

If two bonds are used to join 3 carbohydrates together, how many hydrolysis reactions would be required to break these bonds?

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Answer

1

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If 3 bonds are required to join 4 amino acids together, how many condensation reactions would be required to join these together?

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Answer

1


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If two amino acids undergo a condensation reaction, how many products would be formed?

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Answer

1

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How many condensation reactions are required to form a triglyceride?

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1

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How many hydrolysis reactions are required to convert a triglyceride into 3 fatty acids and a glycerol?

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Answer

1

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What are lipids made up of?

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Answer

Fatty acids

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What are proteins made up of?

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Answer

Amino acids

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If a group of amino acids were joined together in a condensation reaction, what would be created?

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Answer

A protein.

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