Reaction inhibitor

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A reaction inhibitor is a substance that decreases the rate of, or prevents, a chemical reaction. A catalyst, in contrast, is a substance that changes the rate of a chemical reaction.

Examples[edit]

2H
2
O
2
→ 2H
2
O
+ O
2
, which is catalyzed by heat, light, and impurities.[2]

Inhibition of a catalyst[edit]

An inhibitor can reduce the effectiveness of a catalyst in a catalysed reaction (either a non-biological catalyst or an enzyme). E.g., if a compound is so similar to (one of) the reactants that it can bind to the active site of a catalyst but does not undergo a catalytic reaction then that catalyst molecule cannot perform its job because the active site is occupied. When the inhibitor is released, the catalyst is again available for reaction.

Inhibition and catalyst poisoning[edit]

Inhibition should be distinguished from catalyst poisoning. An inhibitor only hinders the working of a catalyst without changing it, whilst in catalyst poisoning the catalyst undergoes a chemical reaction that is irreversible in the environment in question (the active catalyst may only be regained by a separate process).

See also[edit]

References[edit]