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Amylase Investigation

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Amylase Investigation Aim Industries today rely on enzymes because they can make processes more profitable. Enzymes are biodegradable proteins that make production processes more efficient and cost-effective, resulting in higher quality products. Enzymes are the key to a sustainable future as they help protect the environment by reducing waste and the need for harsh chemicals. Our bodies also produce enzymes for example fighting diseases, growth and digestion. Therefore, in order to understand what to do when reactions in our bodies are not working very well or to make industries as efficient as possible, we need to know about the conditions enzymes work best in. This investigation deals with looking at which temperature the enzyme Amylase digests starch at the fastest. It investigates the effect of temperature on the breakdown of starch by amylase, and finding the optimum temperature for the reaction. Background Information Enzymes Enzymes, are any one of many specialized organic substances, composed of polymers of amino acids, that act as catalysts to regulate the speed of the many chemical reactions involved in the metabolism of living organisms. Enzymes are biological catalysts. Catalysis is defined as the acceleration of a chemical reaction by some substance which itself undergoes no permanent chemical change. For example, platinum is used to catalyse the reaction that breaks down nitrogen oxides in car exhaust, yet platinum has many other uses. Unlike ordinary catalysts, enzymes are specific to one chemical reaction. An ordinary catalyst may be used for several different chemical reactions, but an enzyme only works for one specific reaction. The catalysts of biochemical reactions are enzymes and are responsible for bringing about almost all of the chemical reactions in living organisms. Without enzymes, these reactions take place at a rate far too slow for the pace of metabolism. Plants, animals, bacteria, or fungi, if they are alive, use enzymes to control all living chemical reactions. Plants turn the energy of sunlight directly into food by tying sunlight energy into chemical bonds in the form of sugar. ...read more.

Middle

and optimum pH is 5.4. A typical example of industrial usage of Amylase is in bread making. Many food product designers consider enzyme use new and innovative. While this is true for many categories, the baking industry actually has a long history of enzyme study and application. In fact, some references to the use of added enzymes in bakery foods are over 100 years old. The alpha-amylase enzyme hydrolyzes starch into soluble dextrins. These dextrins may subsequently be hydrolyzed by beta-amylase to yield maltose, and/or amyloglucosidase to yield glucose. Because starch exists as a tightly packed granule, amylases must act upon starch granules that are damaged (as many are during flour milling) or on granules that have been gelatinized by moisture and heat (such as when a dough is mixed and baked). The sugars resulting from amylase activity act as food for yeast in yeast-raised products. As a result, the presence of these enzymes in the proper proportions is critical to carbon dioxide generation. Most flour naturally contains both alpha- and beta-amylase. The beta-amylase is, however, the only one naturally present in sufficient quantities. Thus, controlling the gassing power of the dough requires added alpha-amylase. Amylases also can affect the consistency of dough. Damaged starch granules absorb more water than intact granules. This ability is reduced when the damaged granules are acted upon by amylases. With their ability to immobilize water reduced, the damaged granules release free water that softens the dough and makes it more mobile. A third function of amylases is their ability to retard staling. Over time, the crumb of baked products firms due to a complex set of changes that includes recrystallization (or retrogradation) of amylopectin in the starch. By hydrolyzing the amylopectin into smaller units, bacterial alpha-amylase can maintain softness and extend shelf life. One theory behind this suggests that amylopectin still crystallizes at the same rate with added enzymes, but that the shortened chain length maintains greater flexibility and softness when crystallized. ...read more.

Conclusion

Additionally, the pipettes used were another area of error. More accurate results could have been obtained by cleaning the pipette between each reading, or using a new pipette each time, but this could not practically happen. There was always some solution left over in the pipette from the previous reason. Another problem with the pipettes was that there was time for the amylase to act on the starch while the solution was in the pipette, making the timings recorded slightly too small. However, this effect was lessened with most of the temperatures as the mixture was cooling down to room temperature in the pipette. Finally, the volumes of each solution could have been made more accurate by measuring the solutions using a narrower gauge measuring tube. An ideal solution would have been to automate the whole system, with a sample of the mixture being automatically taken every minute, or preferably more frequently, and the concentration of starch stored on computer. This would have overcome the inaccuracies of the timing, which could not always be exact using a stop clock and someone watching it, and would have eliminated the effect of human error from the experiment. In conclusion, the accuracy of the results was certainly good enough to make a sensible conclusion. If the experiment had been conducted under more strict conditions, with more advanced instruments and with sufficient time, the conclusion would not have been different although the individual results might have been more accurate and the graph might have looked very slightly different. Additional work, which could have been carried out, is to test a range of starch solution concentrations or using different enzymes such as protease with protein to see the effect temperature has on all enzymes. Temperatures around the optimum of each enzyme could have been tested going up in 10C to obtain immaculately accurate results that would show exactly where the optimum temperature of the enzyme lay. Different amylases could also have been tested to see what conditions they require in order to work efficiently. ...read more.

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