Hydrolysis as a Chemical Reaction

  • Updated July 25, 2023
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Hydrolysis is a chemical reaction in which water is used to break down the bonds of a particular substance. The name comes from the greek translation, hydro- meaning water and -lysis meaning unbind. There are three types of hydrolysis: salt, acid and base hydrolysis.

Salt is the most common type of hydrolysis, this occurs when salt from a weak base or acid dissolves in liquid. It can be neutral, acidic or basic. A basic solution is when the salt has a weak acid but a strong base (example: calcium carbonate). When the salt has a weak base but a strong acid it is acidic (example: baking soda). Neutel is when the acid and base are strong. Although Salt is known to be harmful to the body, salt is needed to maintain daily functions. Salt contains sodium which helps our body absorb chloride, acids, and water. It also helps control blood pressure by holding on to more water that can strain your kidneys, arteries, heart and brain. Without salt our organs would be covered in water possibly drowning or causing malfunction in our organs.

Acid hydrolysis is when a hydrogen and oxygen are used to catalyze the cleavage of a chemical bond in the cleavage of a chemical bond in a nucleophilic substitution reaction, with the addition of the elements of water (H2O). The Bronsted- Lowry theory claimed that acid is a proton donor. Meaning it gives away an electron rather than taking one. One example of this is ATP which is when starch is converted to usable energy. Acid hydrolysis works in ATP when it gives a proton to convert. ATP is a needed function for a body. It allows the body to have energy and be able to perform task we see as simple.

Base hydrolysis is when a strong base is put together with a water molecule. Base hydrolysis in esters is when a neutral compound is put together with a strong base. An outcome of this is Alcohol and soap. Both are used for cleaning; soap is used to clean hands and alcohol can be used to clean injuries or cuts. Alcohol also has many down sides. In ancient times alcohol was used as a medicine. Today it is still used in medicine but in small doses. The reason for this is because alcohol does do a good job in fighting diseases. An example of this is Tylenol liquid, NyQuil, children’s Benadryl and Theraflu. Alcohol can also cause damage to all parts of your body. Alcohol like mercury causes damage to the central nervous system but at a slower rate. Alcohol slows down the movement of your body while intoxicated. Over time if consumed at a large rate can cause learning disabilities, high blood pressure, loss of attention span irregular heartbeat and stroke.

Hydrolysis is needed for many reasons. A few reasons I listed that are vital are to get rid of water that are explained above are; soaking up water that can cause damage to organs, converting starch into energy, medicine and cleaning cuts that can get an infection. This chemical reaction that takes place in our body and outside does more than we can imagine without us knowing. Although there may be down sides to some chemical reactions most chemical reactions in our body benefit the bodies ability to stay alive.


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Hydrolysis as a Chemical Reaction. (2021, Jan 15). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/hydrolysis-as-a-chemical-reaction/

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