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An enzyme that catalyzes the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide into molecular oxygen and water.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an enzyme of the hydroperoxidase group that catalyzes the oxidation-reduction reaction during which water and oxygen are formed from two molecules of hydrogen peroxide:

Catalase is obtained in crystalline form; its molecular mass is 250, 000. The enzyme is widely distributed in the cells of animals, plants, and microorganisms. It is a chromoprotein having an oxidized heme as a prosthetic (nonprotein) group. Since the specificity of catalase for a substrate-reducing agent is low, it can catalyze not only the decomposition of H202 but also the oxidation of the lower alcohols. The function of catalase is to destroythe toxic hydrogen peroxide that forms in the body during vari-ous oxidative processes.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.