Enzymes are biological catalysts, or chemicals that speed up the rate of reaction between substances without themselves being consumed in the reaction. As such, they are vital to such bodily functions as digestion, and they make possible processes that normally could not occur except at temperatures so high they would threaten the well-being of the body. A type of protein, enzymes sometimes work in tandem with non-proteins called coenzymes. Among the processes in which enzymes play a vital role is fermentation, which takes place in the production of alcohol or the baking of bread and also plays a part in numerous other natural phenomena, such as the purification of wastewater.

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