A Definitive Look at the Difference Between Catalysts and Enzymes

Difference Between Catalysts and Enzymes
Catalysis is the acceleration of the rate of a chemical reaction due to the participation of an additional substance, which remains unchanged, called a catalyst. It may be inorganic (catalyst) or organic (enzyme).
Wilhelm Ostwald's work with acidic and basic catalytic reactions led to him receiving the Nobel prize in Chemistry.
The term catalyst is derived from the Greek word "καταλύειν", which means to annul, or to untie, or to pick up. Any reaction driven by the use of catalysts is called catalysis, a term coined by the Swedish chemist, Jöns Jacob Berzelius, in 1835.
Jons Jacob Berzelius portrait
Jons Jacob Berzelius
The discovery of catalysts allowed scientists to examine and understand the nature of various chemical reactions. The first instance of such an element being present in biological reactions was described by Louis Pasteur during his experiments with wine production. This biological element was later identified and termed as enzyme by the German physiologist Wilhelm Kühne in 1878. The term is derived from the Greek word enzumos, which means 'in leaven'.
Since enzyme is a subset of catalysts, they both share various similarities. They are needed in trace amounts in a reaction. While they can accelerate the rate of a reaction by reducing the activation energy, they themselves cannot initiate a reaction. During the course of the respective reactions, both combine with the reactant or substrate to form a temporary complex. Despite this, the inherent composition and the quantity of these molecules remains unchanged, and hence can be used again and again. Also, the reactions that they catalyze, are reversible in nature. Despite all these similarities they do show distinct differences as well.
Catalysts Vs. Enzymes
Catalysts and enzymes
Nature
Catalysts
➤ Simple inorganic molecules

Enzymes
➤ Complex proteins
Molecular weight
Catalysts
➤ Low

Enzymes
➤ High
Reaction Type
Catalysts
➤ Chemical

Enzymes
➤ Biological
Specificity
Catalysts
➤ Wide range

Enzymes
➤ Highly specific
Efficiency
Catalysts
➤ Less efficient

Enzymes
➤ More efficient
Regulation of Function
Catalysts
➤ Cannot be regulated

Enzymes
➤ Can be regulated
Types
Catalysts
➤ Positive catalyst
➤ Negative catalyst

Enzymes
➤ Activation enzyme
➤ Inhibitory enzyme
Conditions Required
Catalysts
➤ High temperature and pressure

Enzymes
➤ Mild conditions of physiological pH and temperature
Example
Catalysts
➤ Platinum, copper

Enzymes
➤ Amylase, lipase
Catalysts and enzymes have a wide range of applications, not only in the natural environment and laboratory settings, but also in industries. Catalysts are utilized in energy processing and in the production of chemicals. Enzymes are used in food processing, breweries, wine production, bio-fuel industry, antibiotic production, etc.