GCSE Biology: Metabolism

5th April 2017

GCSE Biology Revision

Metabolism and digestive enzymes revision - what you need to know for the new GCSE syllabus!


Metabolism. Now this is a crucial term for you to understand because it refers to all the chemical reactions that take place inside living cells keeping us alive. Multicellular and unicellular organisms rely on the body’s ability to regulate the rate of metabolism to keep healthy.


There are 3 main nutrients which are needed for metabolism to take place:

  • Carbohydrates

  • Proteins

  • lipids


There is an optimum temperature at which enzymes carry out metabolism most effectively. If the temperature is too hot, then the enzymes become de-natured and are unable to function as well. The place where the chemical reactions take place is called the ‘active site’.


Digestive enzymes turn large insoluble molecules into small, water-soluble molecules which are able to be absorbed by the body. They broken down like this:

  • Protease enzymes break down proteins into amino acids in the stomach and small intestine.

  • Lipases break down fat and oils into fatty acids and glycerol in the small intestine

  • Amylase break down starch into maltose in the mouth and small intestine

  • Maltase breaks down maltose into glucose in the small intestine


Different enzymes work best at different pH levels so the different areas of the gut have different pH values in order to maximise their efficiency.


As you can see, metabolism is closely linked to the processes of digestion. Take a look at our GCSE Metabolism song and then take a look at GCSE Digestion song to see how the two a closely linked!



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