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				   What is hydrolysis?

7 years ago


Answers : (1)


Hydrolysis literally means reaction with water. It is a chemical process in which a molecule is cleaved into two parts by the addition of a molecule of water. One fragment of the parent molecule gains a hydrogen ion (H+) from the additional water molecule. The other group collects the remaining hydroxyl group (OH−).

To illustrate this process, some examples from real life and actual living systems are discussed here.

The most common hydrolysis occurs when a salt of a weak acid or weak base (or both) is dissolved in water. Water autoionizes into negative hydroxyl ions and hydrogen ions. The salt breaks down into positive and negative ions.

For example, sodium acetate dissociates in water into sodium and acetate ions. Sodium ions react very little with hydroxyl ions whereas acetate ions combine with hydrogen ions to produce neutral acetic acid, and the net result is a relative excess of hydroxyl ions, causing a basic solution.

However, under normal conditions, only a few reactions between water and organic compounds occur. Generally, strong acids or bases must be added in order to achieve hydrolysis where water has no effect. The acid or base is considered a catalyst. They are meant to speed up the reaction, but are recovered at the end of it.




7 years ago

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