Carbonic anhydrases reversibly catalyze the hydration of carbon dioxide and directly produce bicarbonate and protons, bypassing the formation of carbonic acid (reviewed in Lindskog 1997, Breton 2001, Esbaugh and Tufts 2006, Boron 2010, Gilmour 2010). Carbonic anhydrase deprotonates water to yield a zinc-hydroxyl group and a proton which is transferred to external buffer molecules via histidine or glutamate residues in carbonic anhydrase. The hydroxyl group reacts with carbon dioxide in the active site to yield bicarbonate. A water molecule displaces the bicarbonate and the reaction cycle begins again. There are currently 12 known active carbonic anhydrases in humans.