Key Difference – Substrate vs Product
The key difference between substrate and product is that substrate is the staring material of a chemical reaction whereas product is the compound obtained after the completion of the reaction.
The terms substrate and product are used in spontaneous reactions and in reactions upon which an enzyme acts on as a catalyst. The substrate is the compound on which the enzyme acts on. The product is the compound that is obtained when the reaction has completed.
What is a Substrate?
Substrate is the starting material in a chemical reaction. Substrate is the compound that is being modified or undergo rearrangement during a chemical reaction. For biochemical reactions, the substrate is the compound on which an enzyme acts. The concentration of substrate changes with time of the progression of a chemical reaction; the substrate concentration decreases. There can be one or more substrates involved in a reaction.
When considering biochemical reactions, the substrate binds to the enzyme. The substrate gets attached to the locations of the enzyme known as active sites. Then, a substrate-enzyme complex forms. The reaction takes place on the enzyme. The products of the reaction are released from the active site later.
What is a Product?
Product is the compound obtained at the end of a chemical reaction. Product is the result of a reaction. There can be one or more products obtained from a chemical reaction. The starting materials of the reaction are known as reactants or substrates. Rearrangements, bond formations or bond breaking can occur during a chemical reaction in order to give a product.
When writing an equation for the reaction, an arrow is used to show the direction of the reaction. There, the products are shown on the right-hand side (to which the arrowhead is pointed to) while reactants are on the left-hand side. Ex: a reaction between A and B gives C and D as the products. Then it is written as follows.
A + B → C + D
The products given from a particular chemical reaction can be either major products or minor products. The major product is the product that is given at a higher percentage than other products. Minor products are also known as byproducts. Sometimes, the chemical composition of the reactant and product is similar, only the phase of matter is different.
What is the Difference Between Substrate and Product?
Substrate vs Product
|Substrate is the starting material for a chemical reaction.||Product is the compound obtained at the end of a chemical reaction.|
|Position in a Chemical Equation|
|Substrates are given on the right-hand side of the chemical equation.||Products are given on the left-hand side of the chemical equation.|
|Beginning of the Reaction|
|The chemical reaction begins with a high concentration of substrate.||There are no products at the beginning of the chemical reaction.|
|Progression of the Reaction|
|The substrate concentration decreases with the progression of the reaction.||The product concentration increases with the progression of reaction.|
|End of the Reaction|
|There are no or less number of substrates at the end of the reaction.||There is a high number of products at the end of the reaction.|
Summary – Substrate vs Product
Substrates and products are found in reaction mixtures. Substrates are the starting material of the reaction whereas products can be obtained at the end of the reaction. The difference between substrate and product is that the substrate is the starting material of a chemical reaction whereas product is the compound obtained after the completion of the reaction.
1. “Substrate (Chemistry).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 3 Apr. 2018. Available here
2. “Substrate.” Chemistry Explained. Available here
3. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. “Product Definition in Chemistry.” ThoughtCo, May. 22, 2017. Available here