AAT Bioquest

What is the difference between an enzyme and a catalyst?

Posted January 29, 2021


Both, enzymes and catalysts affect the rate of a reaction without being consumed in the reactions themselves. All known enzymes are catalysts, but not all catalysts are enzymes.


  • Is an organic biocatalyst
  • Is a high molecular globular protein
  • All known enzymes are catalysts
  • Enzyme reaction rates are faster
  • Increases the rate of chemical reactions and converts the substrate into a product
  • Highly specific, producing large amounts of good residues
  • C-C and C-H bonds are present
  • Two types include activation and inhibitory enzymes
  • Examples include lipase and amylase


  • Is inorganic
  • Is a low molecular weight compound
  • All catalysts are not enzymes
  • Catalyst reaction rates are typically slower
  • May increase or decrease the rate of a chemical reaction
  • C-C and C-H bonds are absent
  • Not specific and may produce residues with errors
  • Two types include positive and negative catalysts
  • Example includes vanadium oxide
Additional resources


The Central Role of Enzymes as Biological Catalysts

Amplite™ Fluorimetric Acetylcholinesterase Assay Kit *Red Fluorescence*