Unit systemSI
Unit ofcatalysis
In SI base units:mol/s

The katal (symbol: kat) is that catalytic activity that will raise the rate of conversion by one mole per second in a specified assay system. It is a unit of the International System of Units (SI) used for quantifying the catalytic activity of enzymes (that is, measuring the enzymatic activity level in enzyme catalysis) and other catalysts.

The unit 'katal' is not attached to a specified measurement procedure or assay condition, but any given catalytic activity is: the value measured depends on experimental conditions that must be specified. Therefore, to define the quantity of a catalyst in katals, the catalysed rate of conversion (the rate of conversion in presence of the catalyst minus the rate of spontaneous conversion) of a defined chemical reaction is measured in moles per second. One katal of trypsin, for example, is that amount of trypsin which breaks one mole of peptide bonds in one second under the associated specified conditions.[clarification needed]


One katal refers to an amount of enzyme that gives a catalysed rate of conversion of one mole per second. Because this is such a large unit for most enzymatic reactions, the nanokatal (nkat) is used in practice.

The katal is not used to express the rate of a reaction; that is expressed in units of concentration per second, as moles per liter per second. Rather, the katal is used to express catalytic activity, which is a property of the catalyst.

SI multiples

SI multiples of katal (kat)
Submultiples Multiples
Value SI symbol Name Value SI symbol Name
10−1 kat dkat decikatal 101 kat dakat decakatal
10−2 kat ckat centikatal 102 kat hkat hectokatal
10−3 kat mkat millikatal 103 kat kkat kilokatal
10−6 kat μkat microkatal 106 kat Mkat megakatal
10−9 kat nkat nanokatal 109 kat Gkat gigakatal
10−12 kat pkat picokatal 1012 kat Tkat terakatal
10−15 kat fkat femtokatal 1015 kat Pkat petakatal
10−18 kat akat attokatal 1018 kat Ekat exakatal
10−21 kat zkat zeptokatal 1021 kat Zkat zettakatal
10−24 kat ykat yoctokatal 1024 kat Ykat yottakatal
10−27 kat rkat rontokatal 1027 kat Rkat ronnakatal
10−30 kat qkat quectokatal 1030 kat Qkat quettakatal


The General Conference on Weights and Measures and other international organizations recommend use of the katal. It replaces the non-SI enzyme unit of catalytic activity. The enzyme unit is still more commonly used than the katal, especially in biochemistry.[citation needed] The adoption of the katal has been slow.


The name "katal" has been used for decades. The first proposal to make it an SI unit came in 1978, and it became an official SI unit in 1999. The name comes from the Ancient Greek κατάλυσις (katalysis), meaning "dissolution"; the word "catalysis" itself is a Latinized form of the Greek word.

This page was last updated at 2024-04-17 00:31 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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