Catalase

Catalase

Overview
Catalase is a common enzyme
Enzyme
Enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions. In enzymatic reactions, the molecules at the beginning of the process, called substrates, are converted into different molecules, called products. Almost all chemical reactions in a biological cell need enzymes in order to occur at rates...

 found in nearly all living organisms that are exposed to oxygen, where it catalyzes the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is the simplest peroxide and an oxidizer. Hydrogen peroxide is a clear liquid, slightly more viscous than water. In dilute solution, it appears colorless. With its oxidizing properties, hydrogen peroxide is often used as a bleach or cleaning agent...

 to water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 and oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

. Catalase has one of the highest turnover number
Turnover number
Turnover number has two related meanings:In enzymology, turnover number is defined as the maximum number of molecules of substrate that an enzyme can convert to product per catalytic site per unit of time and can be calculated as follows: kcat = Vmax/[E]T...

s of all enzymes; one catalase molecule can convert 40 million molecules of hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen each second.

Catalase is a tetramer of four polypeptide chains, each over 500 amino acids long.
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Encyclopedia
Catalase is a common enzyme
Enzyme
Enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions. In enzymatic reactions, the molecules at the beginning of the process, called substrates, are converted into different molecules, called products. Almost all chemical reactions in a biological cell need enzymes in order to occur at rates...

 found in nearly all living organisms that are exposed to oxygen, where it catalyzes the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is the simplest peroxide and an oxidizer. Hydrogen peroxide is a clear liquid, slightly more viscous than water. In dilute solution, it appears colorless. With its oxidizing properties, hydrogen peroxide is often used as a bleach or cleaning agent...

 to water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 and oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

. Catalase has one of the highest turnover number
Turnover number
Turnover number has two related meanings:In enzymology, turnover number is defined as the maximum number of molecules of substrate that an enzyme can convert to product per catalytic site per unit of time and can be calculated as follows: kcat = Vmax/[E]T...

s of all enzymes; one catalase molecule can convert 40 million molecules of hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen each second.

Catalase is a tetramer of four polypeptide chains, each over 500 amino acids long. It contains four porphyrin
Porphyrin
Porphyrins are a group of organic compounds, many naturally occurring. One of the best-known porphyrins is heme, the pigment in red blood cells; heme is a cofactor of the protein hemoglobin. Porphyrins are heterocyclic macrocycles composed of four modified pyrrole subunits interconnected at...

 heme
Heme
A heme or haem is a prosthetic group that consists of an iron atom contained in the center of a large heterocyclic organic ring called a porphyrin. Not all porphyrins contain iron, but a substantial fraction of porphyrin-containing metalloproteins have heme as their prosthetic group; these are...

 (iron) groups that allow the enzyme to react with the hydrogen peroxide. The optimum pH
PH
In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Pure water is said to be neutral, with a pH close to 7.0 at . Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline...

 for human catalase is approximately 7, and has a fairly broad maximum (the rate of reaction does not change appreciably at pHs between 6.8 and 7.5). The pH optimum for other catalases varies between 4 and 11 depending on the species. The optimum temperature also varies by species.

History


Catalase was first noticed as a substance in 1818 when Louis Jacques Thénard
Louis Jacques Thénard
Louis Jacques Thénard , was a French chemist.His father, a poor peasant, managed to have him educated at the academy of Sens, and sent him at the age of sixteen to study pharmacy in Paris. There he attended the lectures of Antoine François Fourcroy and Louis Nicolas Vauquelin...

, who discovered H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is the simplest peroxide and an oxidizer. Hydrogen peroxide is a clear liquid, slightly more viscous than water. In dilute solution, it appears colorless. With its oxidizing properties, hydrogen peroxide is often used as a bleach or cleaning agent...

), suggested that its breakdown is caused by a substance. In 1900, Oscar Loew
Oscar Loew
Oscar Loew was a German agricultural chemist, active in Germany, the United States, and Japan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.-Biography:...

 was the first to give it the name catalase, and found its presence in many plants and animals. In 1937 catalase from beef liver was crystallised by James B. Sumner
James B. Sumner
James Batcheller Sumner was an American chemist. He shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1946 with John Howard Northrop and Wendell Meredith Stanley.-Biography:...

 and the molecular weight was worked out in 1938.

In 1969, the amino acid
Amino acid
Amino acids are molecules containing an amine group, a carboxylic acid group and a side-chain that varies between different amino acids. The key elements of an amino acid are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen...

 sequence of bovine catalase was worked out. Then in 1981, the 3D structure of the protein was revealed.

Action


The reaction of catalase in the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide is:
2 H2O2 → 2 H2O + O2


The presence to catalse in a microbial or tissue sample can be tested by adding a volume of enzyme solution and observing the reaction. The formation of bubbles (oxygen) indicates a positive result. This is possible since catalase has a very high specific activity
Specific activity
In nuclear sciences and technologies, "activity" is the SI quantity related to the phenomenon of natural and artificial radioactivity. The SI unit of "activity" is becquerel, Bq, while that of "specific activity" is Bq/kg. The old unit of "activity" was curie, Ci, while that of "specific activity"...

, which produces a detectable response.

Molecular mechanism


While the complete mechanism of catalase is not currently known, the reaction
Chemical reaction
A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the transformation of one set of chemical substances to another. Chemical reactions can be either spontaneous, requiring no input of energy, or non-spontaneous, typically following the input of some type of energy, such as heat, light or electricity...

 is believed to occur in two stages:
H2O2 + Fe(III)-E → H2O + O=Fe(IV)-E(.+)

H2O2 + O=Fe(IV)-E(.+) → H2O + Fe(III)-E + O2

Here Fe-E represents the iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

 center of the heme
Heme
A heme or haem is a prosthetic group that consists of an iron atom contained in the center of a large heterocyclic organic ring called a porphyrin. Not all porphyrins contain iron, but a substantial fraction of porphyrin-containing metalloproteins have heme as their prosthetic group; these are...

 group attached to the enzyme. Fe(IV)-E(.+) is a mesomeric form of Fe(V)-E, meaning that iron is not completely oxidized to +V but receives some "supporting electron" from the heme ligand. This heme has to be drawn then as radical cation (.+).


As hydrogen peroxide enters the active site
Active site
In biology the active site is part of an enzyme where substrates bind and undergo a chemical reaction. The majority of enzymes are proteins but RNA enzymes called ribozymes also exist. The active site of an enzyme is usually found in a cleft or pocket that is lined by amino acid residues that...

, it interacts with the amino acid
Amino acid
Amino acids are molecules containing an amine group, a carboxylic acid group and a side-chain that varies between different amino acids. The key elements of an amino acid are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen...

s Asn147 (asparagine
Asparagine
Asparagine is one of the 20 most common natural amino acids on Earth. It has carboxamide as the side-chain's functional group. It is not an essential amino acid...

 at position 147) and His74
Histidine
Histidine Histidine, an essential amino acid, has a positively charged imidazole functional group. It is one of the 22 proteinogenic amino acids. Its codons are CAU and CAC. Histidine was first isolated by German physician Albrecht Kossel in 1896. Histidine is an essential amino acid in humans...

, causing a proton
Proton
The proton is a subatomic particle with the symbol or and a positive electric charge of 1 elementary charge. One or more protons are present in the nucleus of each atom, along with neutrons. The number of protons in each atom is its atomic number....

 (hydrogen ion
Ion
An ion is an atom or molecule in which the total number of electrons is not equal to the total number of protons, giving it a net positive or negative electrical charge. The name was given by physicist Michael Faraday for the substances that allow a current to pass between electrodes in a...

) to transfer between the oxygen atoms. The free oxygen atom coordinates, freeing the newly-formed water molecule and Fe(IV)=O. Fe(IV)=O reacts with a second hydrogen peroxide molecule to reform Fe(III)-E and produce water and oxygen. The reactivity of the iron center may be improved by the presence of the phenolate ligand
Ligand
In coordination chemistry, a ligand is an ion or molecule that binds to a central metal atom to form a coordination complex. The bonding between metal and ligand generally involves formal donation of one or more of the ligand's electron pairs. The nature of metal-ligand bonding can range from...

 of Tyr357
Tyrosine
Tyrosine or 4-hydroxyphenylalanine, is one of the 22 amino acids that are used by cells to synthesize proteins. Its codons are UAC and UAU. It is a non-essential amino acid with a polar side group...

 in the fifth iron ligand
Ligand
In coordination chemistry, a ligand is an ion or molecule that binds to a central metal atom to form a coordination complex. The bonding between metal and ligand generally involves formal donation of one or more of the ligand's electron pairs. The nature of metal-ligand bonding can range from...

, which can assist in the oxidation of the Fe(III) to Fe(IV). The efficiency of the reaction may also be improved by the interactions of His74 and Asn147 with reaction intermediates. In general, the rate of the reaction can be determined by the Michaelis-Menten equation.

Catalase can also catalyze the oxidation, by hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is the simplest peroxide and an oxidizer. Hydrogen peroxide is a clear liquid, slightly more viscous than water. In dilute solution, it appears colorless. With its oxidizing properties, hydrogen peroxide is often used as a bleach or cleaning agent...

, of various metabolites and toxins, including formaldehyde
Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde is an organic compound with the formula CH2O. It is the simplest aldehyde, hence its systematic name methanal.Formaldehyde is a colorless gas with a characteristic pungent odor. It is an important precursor to many other chemical compounds, especially for polymers...

, formic acid
Formic acid
Formic acid is the simplest carboxylic acid. Its chemical formula is HCOOH or HCO2H. It is an important intermediate in chemical synthesis and occurs naturally, most notably in the venom of bee and ant stings. In fact, its name comes from the Latin word for ant, formica, referring to its early...

, phenols
Phenols
In organic chemistry, phenols, sometimes called phenolics, are a class of chemical compounds consisting of a hydroxyl group bonded directly to an aromatic hydrocarbon group...

, acetaldehyde
Acetaldehyde
Acetaldehyde is an organic chemical compound with the formula CH3CHO or MeCHO. It is one of the most important aldehydes, occurring widely in nature and being produced on a large scale industrially. Acetaldehyde occurs naturally in coffee, bread, and ripe fruit, and is produced by plants as part...

 and alcohols. In does so according to the following reaction:
H2O2 + H2R → 2H2O + R


The exact mechanism of this reaction is not known.

Any heavy metal ion (such as copper cations in copper(II) sulfate) can act as a noncompetitive inhibitor of catalase. Also, the poison cyanide
Cyanide
A cyanide is a chemical compound that contains the cyano group, -C≡N, which consists of a carbon atom triple-bonded to a nitrogen atom. Cyanides most commonly refer to salts of the anion CN−. Most cyanides are highly toxic....

 is a competitive inhibitor of catalase, strongly binding to the heme
Heme
A heme or haem is a prosthetic group that consists of an iron atom contained in the center of a large heterocyclic organic ring called a porphyrin. Not all porphyrins contain iron, but a substantial fraction of porphyrin-containing metalloproteins have heme as their prosthetic group; these are...

 of catalase and stopping the enzyme's action.

Three-dimensional protein structure
Protein structure
Proteins are an important class of biological macromolecules present in all organisms. Proteins are polymers of amino acids. Classified by their physical size, proteins are nanoparticles . Each protein polymer – also known as a polypeptide – consists of a sequence formed from 20 possible L-α-amino...

s of the peroxidated catalase intermediates are available at the Protein Data Bank
Protein Data Bank
The Protein Data Bank is a repository for the 3-D structural data of large biological molecules, such as proteins and nucleic acids....

. This enzyme is commonly used in laboratories as a tool for learning the effect of enzymes upon reaction rates.

Cellular role


Hydrogen peroxide is a harmful by-product of many normal metabolic
Metabolism
Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that happen in the cells of living organisms to sustain life. These processes allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. Metabolism is usually divided into two categories...

 processes: to prevent damage, it must be quickly converted into other, less dangerous substances. To this end, catalase is frequently used by cells to rapidly catalyze the decomposition
Chemical decomposition
Chemical decomposition, analysis or breakdown is the separation of a chemical compound into elements or simpler compounds. It is sometimes defined as the exact opposite of a chemical synthesis. Chemical decomposition is often an undesired chemical reaction...

 of hydrogen peroxide into less reactive gas
Gas
Gas is one of the three classical states of matter . Near absolute zero, a substance exists as a solid. As heat is added to this substance it melts into a liquid at its melting point , boils into a gas at its boiling point, and if heated high enough would enter a plasma state in which the electrons...

eous oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

 and water molecules.

The true biological significance of catalase is not always straightforward to assess: Mice genetically engineered to lack catalase are phenotypically normal, indicating that this enzyme is dispensable in animals under some conditions. A Catalase deficiency may increase the likelihood of developing Type II Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus type 2
Diabetes mellitus type 2formerly non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or adult-onset diabetesis a metabolic disorder that is characterized by high blood glucose in the context of insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. Diabetes is often initially managed by increasing exercise and...

. Some human beings have very low levels of catalase (acatalasia
Acatalasia
Acatalasia is an autosomal recessive peroxisomal disorder caused by a complete lack of catalase.-Presentation:...

), yet show few ill effects. It is likely that the predominant scavengers of H2O2 in normal mammalian cells are peroxiredoxins rather than catalase.

Human catalase works at an optimum temperature of 37 °C, which is approximately the temperature of the human body. In contrast, catalase isolated from the hyperthermophile
Hyperthermophile
A hyperthermophile is an organism that thrives in extremely hot environments— from 60 degrees C upwards. An optimal temperature for the existence of hyperthermophiles is above 80°C . Hyperthermophiles are a subset of extremophiles, micro-organisms within the domain Archaea, although some bacteria...

 archaea
Archaea
The Archaea are a group of single-celled microorganisms. A single individual or species from this domain is called an archaeon...

 Pyrobaculum calidifontis has a temperature optimum of 90 °C.

Catalase is usually located in a cellular organelle
Organelle
In cell biology, an organelle is a specialized subunit within a cell that has a specific function, and is usually separately enclosed within its own lipid bilayer....

 called the peroxisome
Peroxisome
Peroxisomes are organelles found in virtually all eukaryotic cells. They are involved in the catabolism of very long chain fatty acids, branched chain fatty acids, D-amino acids, polyamines, and biosynthesis of plasmalogens, etherphospholipids critical for the normal function of mammalian brains...

. Peroxisomes in plant cells are involved in photorespiration
Photorespiration
Photorespiration, or "'photo-respiration'", is a process in plant metabolism by which RuBP has oxygen added to it by the enzyme , instead of carbon dioxide during normal photosynthesis. This is the beginning step of the Calvin-Benson cycle...

 (the use of oxygen and production of carbon dioxide) and symbiotic nitrogen fixation
Nitrogen fixation
Nitrogen fixation is the natural process, either biological or abiotic, by which nitrogen in the atmosphere is converted into ammonia . This process is essential for life because fixed nitrogen is required to biosynthesize the basic building blocks of life, e.g., nucleotides for DNA and RNA and...

 (the breaking apart of diatomic
Diatomic
Diatomic molecules are molecules composed only of two atoms, of either the same or different chemical elements. The prefix di- means two in Greek. Common diatomic molecules are hydrogen , nitrogen , oxygen , and carbon monoxide . Seven elements exist in the diatomic state in the liquid and solid...

 nitrogen
Nitrogen
Nitrogen is a chemical element that has the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere...

 (N2) to reactive nitrogen atoms). Hydrogen peroxide is used as a potent antimicrobial agent when cells are infected with a pathogen. Pathogens that are catalase-positive, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a pathogenic bacterial species in the genus Mycobacterium and the causative agent of most cases of tuberculosis . First discovered in 1882 by Robert Koch, M...

, Legionella pneumophila
Legionella pneumophila
Legionella pneumophila is a thin, ærobic, pleomorphic, flagellated, non-spore forming, Gram-negative bacterium of the genus Legionella. L. pneumophila is the primary human pathogenic bacterium in this group and is the causative agent of legionellosis or Legionnaires' disease.-Characterization:L...

, and Campylobacter jejuni
Campylobacter jejuni
Campylobacter jejuni is a species of curved, helical-shaped, non-spore forming, Gram-negative, microaerophilic bacteria commonly found in animal feces. It is one of the most common causes of human gastroenteritis in the world. Food poisoning caused by Campylobacter species can be severely...

, make catalase in order to deactivate the peroxide radicals, thus allowing them to survive unharmed within the host
Host (biology)
In biology, a host is an organism that harbors a parasite, or a mutual or commensal symbiont, typically providing nourishment and shelter. In botany, a host plant is one that supplies food resources and substrate for certain insects or other fauna...

.

Catalase contributes to ethanol metabolism in the body after ingestion of alcohol, however it only breaks down a small fraction of the alcohol in the body.

Distribution among organisms


All known animal
Animal
Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and...

s use catalase in every organ
Organ (anatomy)
In biology, an organ is a collection of tissues joined in structural unit to serve a common function. Usually there is a main tissue and sporadic tissues . The main tissue is the one that is unique for the specific organ. For example, main tissue in the heart is the myocardium, while sporadic are...

, with particularly high concentrations occurring in the liver
Liver
The liver is a vital organ present in vertebrates and some other animals. It has a wide range of functions, including detoxification, protein synthesis, and production of biochemicals necessary for digestion...

. One unique use of catalase occurs in bombardier beetle
Bombardier beetle
Bombardier beetles are ground beetles in the tribes Brachinini, Paussini, Ozaenini, or Metriini—more than 500 species altogether—which are most notable for the defense mechanism that gives them their name: When disturbed, the beetle ejects a noxious chemical spray in a rapid burst of pulses from...

. The beetle has two sets of chemicals ordinarily stored separately in its paired glands. The larger of the pair, the storage chamber or reservoir, contains hydroquinone
Hydroquinone
Hydroquinone, also benzene-1,4-diol or quinol, is an aromatic organic compound that is a type of phenol, having the chemical formula C6H42. Its chemical structure, shown in the table at right, has two hydroxyl groups bonded to a benzene ring in a para position. It is a white granular solid...

s and hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is the simplest peroxide and an oxidizer. Hydrogen peroxide is a clear liquid, slightly more viscous than water. In dilute solution, it appears colorless. With its oxidizing properties, hydrogen peroxide is often used as a bleach or cleaning agent...

, whereas the smaller of the pair, the reaction chamber, contains catalases and peroxidase
Peroxidase
Peroxidases are a large family of enzymes that typically catalyze a reaction of the form:For many of these enzymes the optimal substrate is hydrogen peroxide, but others are more active with organic hydroperoxides such as lipid peroxides...

s. To activate the noxious spray, the beetle mixes the contents of the two compartments, causing oxygen to be liberated from hydrogen peroxide. The oxygen oxidizes the hydroquinones and also acts as the propellant. The oxidation reaction is very exothermic
Exothermic
In thermodynamics, the term exothermic describes a process or reaction that releases energy from the system, usually in the form of heat, but also in the form of light , electricity , or sound...

 (ΔH = −202.8 kJ/mol) which rapidly heats the mixture to the boiling point.

Catalase is also universal among plants, and many fungi are also high producers of the enzyme.

Very few aerobic microorganisms that do not use catalase are known. Catalase has also been observed in some anaerobic
Anaerobic organism
An anaerobic organism or anaerobe is any organism that does not require oxygen for growth. It could possibly react negatively and may even die if oxygen is present...

 microorganisms, such as Methanosarcina barkeri.

Applications



Catalase is used in the food industry for removing hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is the simplest peroxide and an oxidizer. Hydrogen peroxide is a clear liquid, slightly more viscous than water. In dilute solution, it appears colorless. With its oxidizing properties, hydrogen peroxide is often used as a bleach or cleaning agent...

 from milk
Milk
Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food. Early-lactation milk contains colostrum, which carries the mother's antibodies to the baby and can reduce the risk of many...

 prior to cheese
Cheese
Cheese is a generic term for a diverse group of milk-based food products. Cheese is produced throughout the world in wide-ranging flavors, textures, and forms....

 production. Another use is in food wrappers where it prevents food from oxidizing. Catalase is also used in the textile
Textile
A textile or cloth is a flexible woven material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibres often referred to as thread or yarn. Yarn is produced by spinning raw fibres of wool, flax, cotton, or other material to produce long strands...

 industry, removing hydrogen peroxide from fabrics to make sure the material is peroxide-free.

A minor use is in contact lens
Contact lens
A contact lens, or simply contact, is a lens placed on the eye. They are considered medical devices and can be worn to correct vision, for cosmetic or therapeutic reasons. In 2004, it was estimated that 125 million people use contact lenses worldwide, including 28 to 38 million in the United...

 hygiene - a few lens-cleaning products disinfect
Disinfection
Disinfectants are substances that are applied to non-living objects to destroy microorganisms that are living on the objects. Disinfection does not necessarily kill all microorganisms, especially nonresistant bacterial spores; it is less effective than sterilisation, which is an extreme physical...

 the lens using a hydrogen peroxide solution; a solution containing catalase is then used to decompose the hydrogen peroxide before the lens is used again. Recently, catalase has also begun to be used in the aesthetics industry. Several mask treatments combine the enzyme with hydrogen peroxide on the face with the intent of increasing cellular oxygenation in the upper layers of the epidermis.

Catalase test



The catalase test is also one of the main three tests used by microbiologists to identify species of bacteria. The presence of catalase enzyme in the test isolate is detected using hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is the simplest peroxide and an oxidizer. Hydrogen peroxide is a clear liquid, slightly more viscous than water. In dilute solution, it appears colorless. With its oxidizing properties, hydrogen peroxide is often used as a bleach or cleaning agent...

. If the bacteria possess catalase (i.e., are catalase-positive), when a small amount of bacterial isolate is added to hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is the simplest peroxide and an oxidizer. Hydrogen peroxide is a clear liquid, slightly more viscous than water. In dilute solution, it appears colorless. With its oxidizing properties, hydrogen peroxide is often used as a bleach or cleaning agent...

, bubbles of oxygen are observed.

In microbiology
Microbiology
Microbiology is the study of microorganisms, which are defined as any microscopic organism that comprises either a single cell , cell clusters or no cell at all . This includes eukaryotes, such as fungi and protists, and prokaryotes...

, the catalase test is used to differentiate between bacteria
Bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

l species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 in the lab. The test is done by placing a drop of hydrogen peroxide on a microscope slide
Microscope slide
A microscope slide is a thin flat piece of glass, typically 75 by 25 mm and about 1 mm thick, used to hold objects for examination under a microscope. Typically the object is placed or secured on the slide, and then both are inserted together in the microscope for viewing...

. Using an applicator stick, a scientist touches the colony and then smears a sample into the hydrogen peroxide drop.
  • If bubbles or froth forms, the organism is said to be catalase-positive. Staphylococci
    Staphylococcus
    Staphylococcus is a genus of Gram-positive bacteria. Under the microscope they appear round , and form in grape-like clusters....

     and Micrococci
    Micrococcus
    Micrococcus is a genus of bacteria in the Micrococcaceae family. Micrococcus occurs in a wide range of environments, including water, dust, and soil. Micrococci have Gram-positive spherical cells ranging from about 0.5 to 3 micrometers in diameter and are typically appear in tetrads...

     are catalase-positive. Other catalase positive organisms include Listeria, Corynebacterium diphtheriae
    Corynebacterium diphtheriae
    Corynebacterium diphtheriae is a pathogenic bacterium that causes diphtheria. It is also known as the Klebs-Löffler bacillus, because it was discovered in 1884 by German bacteriologists Edwin Klebs and Friedrich Löffler .-Classification:Four subspecies are recognized: C. diphtheriae mitis, C....

    , Burkholderia cepacia, Nocardia
    Nocardia
    Nocardia is a genus of weakly staining Gram-positive, catalase-positive, rod-shaped bacteria. It forms partially acid-fast beaded branching filaments . It has a total of 85 species. Some species are non-pathogenic while others are responsible for nocardiosis. Nocardia are found worldwide in soil...

    , the Family Enterobacteriaceae (Citrobacter
    Citrobacter
    Citrobacter is a genus of Gram-negative coliform bacteria in the Enterobacteriaceae family.The species C. amalonaticus, C. koseri, and C. freundii use solely citrate as a carbon source...

    , E.Coli, Enterobacter
    Enterobacter
    Enterobacter is a genus of common Gram-negative, facultatively-anaerobic, rod-shaped bacteria of the family Enterobacteriaceae. Several strains of the these bacteria are pathogenic and cause opportunistic infections in immunocompromised hosts and in those who are on mechanical ventilation...

    , Klebsiella
    Klebsiella
    Klebsiella is a genus of non-motile, Gram-negative, oxidase-negative, rod-shaped bacteria with a prominent polysaccharide-based capsule. It is named after the German microbiologist Edwin Klebs...

    , Shigella
    Shigella
    Shigella is a genus of Gram-negative, nonspore forming, non-motile, rod-shaped bacteria closely related to Escherichia coli and Salmonella. The causative agent of human shigellosis, Shigella causes disease in primates, but not in other mammals. It is only naturally found in humans and apes. During...

    , Yersinia
    Yersinia
    Yersinia is a genus of bacteria in the family Enterobacteriaceae. Yersinia are Gram-negative rod shaped bacteria, a few micrometers long and fractions of a micrometer in diameter, and are facultative anaerobes. Some members of Yersinia are pathogenic in humans; in particular, Y. pestis is the...

    , Proteus
    Proteus
    In Greek mythology, Proteus is an early sea-god, one of several deities whom Homer calls the "Old Man of the Sea", whose name suggests the "first" , as protogonos is the "primordial" or the "firstborn". He became the son of Poseidon in the Olympian theogony In Greek mythology, Proteus (Πρωτεύς)...

    , Salmonella
    Salmonella
    Salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped, Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, predominantly motile enterobacteria with diameters around 0.7 to 1.5 µm, lengths from 2 to 5 µm, and flagella which grade in all directions . They are chemoorganotrophs, obtaining their energy from oxidation and reduction...

    , Serratia
    Serratia
    Serratia is a genus of Gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic, rod-shaped bacteria of the Enterobacteriaceae family. The most common species in the genus, S. marcescens, is normally the only pathogen and usually causes nosocomial infections. However, rare strains of S. plymuthica, S. liquefaciens,...

    , Pseudomonas
    Pseudomonas
    Pseudomonas is a genus of gammaproteobacteria, belonging to the family Pseudomonadaceae containing 191 validly described species.Recently, 16S rRNA sequence analysis has redefined the taxonomy of many bacterial species. As a result, the genus Pseudomonas includes strains formerly classified in the...

    ), Mycobacterium tuberculosis
    Mycobacterium tuberculosis
    Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a pathogenic bacterial species in the genus Mycobacterium and the causative agent of most cases of tuberculosis . First discovered in 1882 by Robert Koch, M...

    , Aspergillus
    Aspergillus
    Aspergillus is a genus consisting of several hundred mold species found in various climates worldwide. Aspergillus was first catalogued in 1729 by the Italian priest and biologist Pier Antonio Micheli...

    , and Cryptococcus
    Cryptococcus
    Cryptococcus is a genus of fungus. Species grow in culture as yeasts. The perfect forms or teleomorphs of Cryptococcus species are filamentous fungi in the genus Filobasidiella...

    .

  • If not, the organism is catalase-negative. Streptococci
    Streptococcus
    Streptococcus is a genus of spherical Gram-positive bacteria belonging to the phylum Firmicutes and the lactic acid bacteria group. Cellular division occurs along a single axis in these bacteria, and thus they grow in chains or pairs, hence the name — from Greek στρεπτος streptos, meaning...

     and Enterococci
    Enterococcus
    Enterococcus is a genus of lactic acid bacteria of the phylum Firmicutes. Enterococci are Gram-positive cocci that often occur in pairs or short chains, and are difficult to distinguish from streptococci on physical characteristics alone. Two species are common commensal organisms in the...

     are catalase-negative.


While the catalase test alone cannot identify a particular organism, combined with other tests such as antibiotic resistance, it can aid diagnosis. The presence of catalase in bacterial cells depends on both the growth condition and the medium used to grow the cells.

Grey hair


According to recent scientific studies, low levels of catalase may play a role in the greying process of human hair. Hydrogen peroxide is naturally produced by the body and catalase breaks it down. If there is a dip in catalase levels, hydrogen peroxide cannot be broken down. This causes the hydrogen peroxide to bleach the hair from the inside out. This finding may someday be incorporated into anti-greying treatments for aging hair.

Role in disease


The peroxisomal disorder
Peroxisomal disorder
Peroxisomal disorders represent a class of medical conditions caused by defects in peroxisome functions. This may be due to defects in single enzymes important for peroxisome function or in peroxins, proteins encoded by PEX genes that are critical for normal peroxisome assembly and...

 acatalasia
Acatalasia
Acatalasia is an autosomal recessive peroxisomal disorder caused by a complete lack of catalase.-Presentation:...

 is due to a deficiency in the function of catalase. Genetic polymorphisms in catalase and its altered expression and activity are associated with oxidative DNA damage and subsequently the individual’s risk of cancer susceptibility.

Interactions


Catalase has been shown to interact
Protein-protein interaction
Protein–protein interactions occur when two or more proteins bind together, often to carry out their biological function. Many of the most important molecular processes in the cell such as DNA replication are carried out by large molecular machines that are built from a large number of protein...

 with ABL2
ABL2
Tyrosine-protein kinase ABL2 also known as Abelson-related gene is an enzyme that in humans is encoded by the ABL2 gene.- Function :...

 and Abl gene
Abl gene
V-abl Abelson murine leukemia viral oncogene homolog 1 also known as ABL1 is a protein that, in humans, is encoded by the ABL1 gene located on chromosome 9.- Function :...

.

External links