The Chemical Formula Of A Compound Does Not Indicate Biology Experiments for Teachers – Enzymes: Catalase

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Biology Experiments for Teachers – Enzymes: Catalase

Security. Although the risks involved in the following experiments are negligible, you are advised to consult the latest edition of ‘Safeguards in the School Laboratory’ published by the Association for Science Education (ase.org.uk) before starting any experiment.

Outline. Catalase is an enzyme that occurs in the cells of many organisms. Some of the energy-releasing reactions in the cell produce hydrogen peroxide as an end product. This compound, which is toxic to the cell, is split into water and oxygen by the action of catalase. 2H2O2 = 2H2O + O2

Liver and yeast samples are placed in hydrogen peroxide. Oxygen has changed and the student is asked to extend the experiment to try and determine if an enzyme in the tissue is responsible. The tests and quizzes take about one hour.

Prior knowledge. The presence of inorganic catalysts; enzymes denatured by boiling; oxygen ignites the light metal.

Advance preparation and equipment – per group

20 volume of hydrogen peroxide 50 cm3

tie

liver, about 1 cm cube

distilled water 20 cm3

dry yeast about 1 g

clean sand about 1 g

activated charcoal granules, about 1 g

Equipment – per group

test-tube rack and 4 test-tubes

forceps or someone who wants to push the liver into the test tube

4 labels or air marker

filter funnel

Bunsen burner

filter paper

test tube holder

mortar and pestle

Try on

The research below is a very important survey of plants and animals to see if

they contain catalase.

(a) Label the three test tubes 1-3.

(b) Pour about 20 mm (deep) hydrogen peroxide into each tube.

(c) Cut the liver into 3 pieces.

(d) In tube 1 add a small piece of liver, and in tube 2 add a pinch of dry yeast.

(e) Place the light iron in tubes 1 and 2, close to the surface of the liquid or to the top of the foam.

1 Describe what you saw happen and the effect on the glowing cord.

2 How do you interpret these observations?

3 Is there any evidence from this experiment so far, to show that the gas comes from hydrogen peroxide or from a solid?

4 Is there any evidence at this stage that an enzyme is involved in the production of gas in this reaction?

(f) In tube 3 put a few granules of charcoal and observe the reaction.

5 Can charcoal be an enzyme? Explain your answer.

6 Assuming that (i) the gas in (f) is the same as before and (ii) the coal is almost pure carbon, does the gas result help you decide the source of the gas in this and the previous experiments. ?

(g) Suppose the hypothesis is advanced that there is an enzyme in the liver and yeast, which decomposes hydrogen peroxide into oxygen and water; Design and conduct a control experiment to test this hypothesis.

7 Write down (i) the experiment, (ii) the reasons that led you to do it, (iii) the observations

results and (iv) your conclusions.

(h) Wash test tubes. Design and conduct an experiment to see if a hypothesized enzyme in plant and animal material can be extracted and retain its properties. Testing should include controls.

8 Briefly describe your process, your results and your conclusions.

9 It is thought that liver and yeast each have an enzyme that breaks down hydrogen peroxide, is there any evidence that it is this enzyme? What must be done to find this out?

Discussion – answers

1 Success must be determined on a case-by-case basis but it is stronger with leaven than with courage. A bright metal should shine.

2 Oxygen is produced.

3 There is no evidence that a liquid or solid gives off a gas. If students think that a solid is unlikely to give off a gas they can be reminded of marble and hydrochloric acid which is a solid that produces carbon dioxide. However, it seems rare that yeast and liver both release oxygen when treated with hydrogen peroxide, rather than hydrogen peroxide should release oxygen when treated with different substances.

4 So far, there is no evidence that an enzyme is involved.

5 The gas will escape but not quickly enough to light the glow plug. Coal could not

it is an enzyme because (a) it is an element and (b) it is produced at temperatures too high to destroy enzymes.

6 Coal, as an element, cannot release oxygen. The gas must come out of the

hydrogen peroxide.

7 (i) The test should include boiling the muscles and placing them in hydrogen peroxide.

(ii) If an enzyme is involved,

(iii) no gas will be produced.

8 The student should grind the samples with a little sand and distilled water, filter and test the filter with hydrogen peroxide. Oxygen will be converted to energy equal to what was witnessed when the original materials were tested.

The student should boil down half of each text and show that they are losing their work.

9 There is no significant reason why yeast and liver do not contain different enzymes that catalyze the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide. To be sure of this point, the enzymes will have to be extracted and the chemical composition determined.

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