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How does temperature affect an Enzyme (Amylase)?

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Introduction

How does temperature affect an Enzyme (Amylase)? This experiment investigates the effect that temperature has on an enzyme, in this case amylase. Amylase is the enzyme in the body that breaks down starch into glucose. The time is measured that it takes an amylase solution to digest the starch solution at different temperatures. By repeating the experiment over a range of temperatures, this should show the optimum temperature for amylase to work most efficiently. Enzymes Enzymes are biological catalysts that are present in all living cells, they control the metabolic reactions in the body. A catalyst is a substance, which speeds up a chemical reaction but is left unchanged after the reaction. Without enzymes the reactions in living cells would be far too slow to keep life going. The substance on which an enzyme acts is called a substrate of that enzyme. Since each enzyme has to be shaped exactly to suit its own substrate a differed enzyme is needed for every substrate. The place on the enzyme molecule where the substrate binds is called the active site of the enzyme. The substrate in this experiment is starch, the enzyme amylase. The reaction happens when the amylase molecule and the starch molecule are fitted together. ...read more.

Middle

The water level is checked at the end of each experiment to make sure that it remains the same. The starch and amylase are measured accurately to 5cm� for each experiment and put into separate test tubes. These are then placed into the water bath and left for 5 minutes so that the temperature within the test tubes becomes the same as the water. The temperature of the water bath is maintained throughout the experiment. 20 Even-sized drops of iodine solution are placed onto a white tile. After 5 minutes the starch is added to the amylase and shook, the test tube is then put back into the water bath. Using a glass rod a drop of this solution is taken straight away and added to one of the drops of iodine solution on the tile. A blue-black colour indicates that starch is present. This is done at the beginning of each experiment to give an even starting point. The glass rod is washed between each drop of solution taken. A drop is then taken every minute until the iodine solution does not change colour (indicating all the starch has been digested) or 20 minutes have passed. ...read more.

Conclusion

These slight variations would have affected the speed of the reactions. The 30�C temperature was in actual fact 31�C and the 40�C temperature 38�C, the reaction times were only 1 minute apart but the next temperature above 50�C, actual temperature 52�C showed a reaction time of 2 minutes apart. As it is possible to produce a mathematic equation to predict the reaction time for digestion these two results do not quite fit and it is perhaps these discrepancies that cause this. It was difficult to maintain the temperature throughout the experiment. A possible solution to this would have been to measure the temperature actually in the test tubes and try and maintain these. Leaving the test tubes in the water to acclimatise for longer at the beginning of the experiment before the two substances were added together would have possibly provided more accurate results. Due to time constraints the test tubes were only left in the water bath for 5 minutes. Overall the experiment proved the predictions but the results could have been more accurate if smaller temperature intervals were used, the test tubes were left in the water bath for a longer period and the actual temperature of the mixed liquid in the test tube maintained. Perhaps by having a thermometer in the test tube. ...read more.

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